Retail sales slump sends stocks down

Published 12:49 pm Wednesday, October 15, 2008

NEW YORK (AP) _ Angst over the economy is sending stocks plunging once again. A disappointing retail sales report has investors convinced that the banking crisis has caused cracks in the economy well beyond the financial sector and that a recession, if not already here, is inevitable.

The Dow Jones industrials are down more than 500 points, more than half their huge 936-point advance from Monday, and all the major indexes are down at least 5 percent.

The government’s report that retail sales plunged in September by 1.2 percent — almost double the 0.7 percent drop analysts expected — made it clear that consumers are reluctant to spend amid a shaky economy and a punishing stock market. And the economy cannot grow unless consumers are spending.

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