By  on July 26, 2011

The equity markets started off on a sour note Monday, with the DowJones Industrial Average dropping more than 140 points before a modestafternoon recovery, as Washington’s debate on whether to raise the debtceiling and avoid a U.S. default fed investor fears.

The Dowclosed down 0.7 percent, or 88.36 points, to 12,5923.80, while theS&P Retail Index also fell 0.7 percent, or 3.95 points, to 545.18.Anxious investors sought the safety of gold and pushed the preciousmetal up as much as $22.80 to an all-time high of $1,624.30 an ounce.

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