Stocks Drop In Worst Quarter Since 2008

U.S. stock indexes dropped more than 2% Friday, ending their worst quarter since the depth of the financial crisis, worries over Europe dominated. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 240.60 points, or 2.16%, to 10,913.38. It gained 1.3% for the week but lost 6% for the month. The 12.1% quarterly loss was the worst since the March 2009 quarter. The S&P 500 fell 28.98 points, or 2.50%, to 1,131.42 Friday. It was off 0.4% for the week, down 7.2% for the month and off 14.3% for the quarter –the worst quarter since Dec. 2008. The Nasdaq Composite lost 65.36 points, or 2.63%, to 2,415.40. It fell 2.7% for the week, lost 6.4% for the month and 12.9% for the quarter.

Chinese manufacturing shrank a third month, the longest streak since 2009. German sales fell the most in more than four years, while European inflation unexpectedly quickened to the fastest in almost three years. Japanese industrial production grew less than economists forecast. The S&P 500 pared lossesearlier after the Institute for Supply Management-Chicago Inc.’s business barometer and Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan gauge of consumer confidence beat projections.

JPMorgan Chase & Co and Bank of America Corp were hit with new lawsuits by investors claiming losses on $4.5 billion of soured mortgage debt, adding tolitigation targeting the two largest U.S. banks.

Alcoa Inc. said Friday that its board declared a quarterly common stock dividend of 3 cents. The dividend will be paid on Nov. 25 to shareholders of record as of Nov. 4.

Mortgage rates have skated near record lows for weeks. But now it can finally be said: Long-term rates in the United States have never been lower. This week, the average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage fell to 4.01 percent, mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said in its weekly report.

Crude-oil futures declined Friday, finishing a dismal September sharply in the red. Crude for November delivery /quotes/zigman/2075833 CL1X -4.25%  lost $2.94, or 3.6%, to end at $79.20 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That was oil’s lowest settlement since July 2010.

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