US stocks fall sharply on consumer spending worries

The US stock market plunged again on Monday, diving along with investors' confidence in the economy. Confirmation that the US is in a recession and reports of only a modest gain in holiday shopping sales have prompted many investors to resume selling after the market's five-session advance. Late-session comments by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson that the economic downturn is "significant" but manageable likely added to the market's gloom, as did more downbeat data about manufacturing and construction. The Dow Jones industrials were down 524 points, or 5.7 percent, at the 8,304 level, while the broader market indicators were down about 7 percent.