Stocks plummet on bad economic data

September 4, 2008 6:00:03 PM PDT
Wall Street has ended a dismal day with a huge decline. The Dow Jones industrials are down nearly 350 points after retailers and the Labor Department added to investors' mounting economic worries and prompted a wave of selling. Retailers say shoppers curtailed spending last month due to higher gas and food prices. Meanwhile, the Labor Department says new applications for unemployment insurance last week rose by 15,000 from the previous week.

The troubling news arrived ahead of Friday's August jobs report from the Labor Department.

At the close of trading, the Dow is down about 345 points at the 11,187 level, according to preliminary calculations.