NEW YORK - No matter where they look, investors are seeing economic trouble.
Stocks and interest rates plunged Tuesday after signs of slowing economies from China to the U.S. spooked traders who were already uneasy about a global recovery. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 268 points, or 2.7 percent, and dropped below 10,000. The benchmark Standard & Poor's 500 index dropped 3.1 percent to close at its lowest level since October.
Interest rates fell in the Treasury market after demand for the safety of government debt grew. The yield on the 10-year note dropped to 2.95 percent, the first time it has fallen below 3 percent since April 2009, when the markets were in the early stages of their recovery from the financial crisis.
The markets began the day by following Asian and European stocks lower. Asian exchanges fell after an index that forecasts economic activity for China was revised lower. European stocks continued the slide after Greek workers walked off the job to protest steep budget cuts.
Then, shortly after U.S. trading began, the market was hit with news that consumer confidence fell sharply this month because of worries about jobs and the overall economy.
The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index fell to 52.9 from a revised 62.7 in May. It was the steepest drop since February and economists polled by Thomson Reuters had forecast only a modest dip.
Investors are also anxious as they wait for the Labor Department's monthly employment report on Friday.