Dow drops 152 points, giving up much of Wednesday’s big gain

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks fell sharply Thursday, giving back more than half of Wednesday’s big gain in the Dow industrials.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down as much as 218 points in late trading before recovering a bit. It closed with a loss of 152.42 points, or 1.9 percent, at 8,001.99. A day earlier, the Dow shot up 257.21 in its fifth-biggest point gain ever to reach its highest level in a month.
Broader stock indicators also suffered heavy losses Thursday as portfolio managers, approaching the close to a bruising quarter, tried to protect some of Wednesday’s unexpected bounty.
The downturn left the Dow less than 100 points above this year’s break-even point and down 1,335.98 points, or 14.3 percent, from its July peak of 9,337.97.
Trading was heavy, with almost 800 million shares changing hands on the New York Stock Exchange. But that was down from the more than 900 million shares traded Wednesday.
Wall Street rallied Wednesday as Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan gave the clearest signal yet that the central bank will cut interest rates to combat a widening economic crisis overseas.
Those gains in U.S. markets were followed by a rally Thursday throughout Asia on hopes lower interest rates would ease the economic crises engulfing the region. Leading European markets opened higher Thursday, but faded to close with losses.