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Dow drops 350 points, as stocks take biggest hit of the year

American flags fly in front of the New

American flags fly in front of the New York Stock Exchange in Manhattan on Oct. 8, 2014. Photo Credit: AP / Mark Lennihan

Stocks closed down about 2 percent Monday, their biggest losses of the year as investors scrambled to protect themselves from fallout from Greece's worsening debt crisis. Greece is moving closer to defaulting on its debt and could be forced to abandon the euro currency.

At the close on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 350.3 points, nearly 2 percent, at 17,596.4. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gave up nearly 44 points, about 2.1 percent, to 2,057.6. The Nasdaq composite lost 122 points, about 2.4 percent, to 5,004.

The losses were broad. Nine of the 10 industry sectors in the S&P 500 index slumped. The only one that rose was utilities, a traditional safety play.

European markets fell even more. Stocks fell 3.6 percent in Germany and 3.7 percent in France.

Bond prices rose sharply as investors sought safety. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.32 percent.

As the markets closed, the price of U.S. benchmark crude oil fell $1.38, about 2.3 percent, to $58.25 a barrel. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, fell $1.44 to $61.82 a barrel in London.

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