Stocks Snap 3 Day Winning Streak

U.S. stocks settled sharply lower Wednesday, turning mild declines into a full-blown selloff as investors worry about Europe’s ability to contain its debt crisis. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 179.79 points, or 1.61%, to end at 11,010.90, while the S&P 500 retreated 24.32 points, or 2.07%, to 1,151.06. The Nasdaq Composite declined 55.25, or 2.17%, to 2,491.58.

Taxing financial trades has been touted as a panacea for all kinds of global ills, a cash source to fight poverty and global warming. But the latest European attempt to introduce a worldwide standard 40 years after it was first conceived is facing stiff opposition from the U.S. and Britain.

Unemployment rates fell in roughly two-thirds of U.S. cities last month, despite zero job growth nationwide. The Labor Department said Wednesday that unemployment rates dropped in 237 of the nation’s largest metro areas in August from July. They rose in 103 and stayed the same in 32. That’s an improvement from July, when rates fell in 193 areas and rose in 118.

Amazon.com on Wednesday revealed plans to begin selling a color touchscreen tablet. Named the Kindle Fire, the device has a 7-inch touchscreen, weighs 14.6 ounces and is outfitted with a dual-core processor. But the most important feature may be the price. At $199 the Fire is less than half the price of the Apple iPad, which starts at $499. It is the first tablet from a major company to seriously undercut the iPad in price.

Oil gave up almost all of its gains for the week as the U.S. and Europe appeared to have little appetite for more fuel. Benchmark crude fell $3.24, nearly 4 percent, to end the day at $81.21 per barrel in New York.

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