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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Another nasty week for Wall Street (ext.)

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- U.S. stocks were slammed with another wave of late-day selling on Friday as investors were faced with disappointing news from Hewlett-Packard as well lingering issues with Europe's debt crisis and the future of the U.S. economy.

Friday's drop came after the Dow plunged more than 400 points on Thursday and added to what had already been steep declines for U.S. markets.

In all, it was another nasty week for U.S. investors, with the Dow, S&P and Nasdaq falling between 4% and 6% over the past five days.

On Friday, the Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) dropped 173 points, or 1.6%, to end at 10,818. The S&P 500 (SPX) lost 17 points, or 1.5%, to finish at 1,124 and the Nasdaq Composite (COMP) fell 39 points, or 1.6%, to 2,342.

"Global markets remain rattled by a crisis that is fast morphing into a global banking and economic crisis on one side, and a very piecemeal policy approach to contain risks on the other," said Marc Chandler, global head of currency strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman.

Friday's global sell-off came a day after Morgan Stanley cut global growth forecasts, saying the U.S. and Europe are "dangerously close to a recession."

Adding to these concerns, Deutsche Bank downgraded its economic forecast for China, saying a slowdown or recession in the U.S. or European economies would be "the single most important shock to the Chinese economy," and could slow the nation's GDP growth to 7%.

Meanwhile, JPMorgan Chase sliced its fourth-quarter U.S. GDP growth estimate to 1%, down from its previous projection of 2.5%. The bank also warned that the risks of a recession are "are clearly elevated."

"It's not a foregone conclusion that we're recession-bound, [but] clearly the U.S. economy is slowing," said Rob Lutts, chief investment officer with Cabot Money Management.

Investors continued to seek shelter in traditional safe havens, including gold. The precious metal jumped as much as $59.40 on Friday, bolting to a fresh intraday record of $1,881.40 an ounce before pulling back to a settlement record of $1,852.20.

The dollar firmed against the euro and British pound, and was flat versus the Japanese yen.

Oil for September delivery slipped 46 cents to $81.92 a barrel, having fallen as low as $79.17 earlier in the session.

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