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Dow Closes Down Over 500 Points -- Worst Drop Since Oct. 2008

“The jobless claims number was not too encouraging..."

NEW YORK (The Blaze/AP) -- The stock market is finishing its worst day since the financial crisis.

The Dow Jones industrial average plunged more than 500 points Thursday. Investors are concerned that the U.S. economy will enter another recession and that Europe's debt problems are not closed to being solved.

Major stock indexes fell more than 4 percent.

The Vix, a measure of investor fear, shot up 36 percent. It is up 92.6 percent for the quarter, which began July 1.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 512.76 points, or 4.3 percent, to 11,383.68. Thursday's losses turned the blue-chip stock index negative for the year.

The S&P 500 - the benchmark for most mutual funds - lost 60.20, or 4.8 percent, to 1,200.14. It is now down 12 percent from its recent high of 1,363 reached on April 29. The Nasdaq composite shed 136.68, or 5.1 percent, to 2,556.39.

Oil dipped to $87 a barrel on worries demand will fall because of the slowing economy. It had traded over $100 as recently as June 9.

Nearly 20 stocks fell for every one that rose on the New York Stock Exchange.

“The jobless claims number was not too encouraging … we need to see more of a significant improvement than the data just squeaking by,” Doreen Mogavero, president and CEO of Mogavero Lee & Company, told CNBC.

This is a breaking story. Updates will be added.

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