By and  on January 18, 2008

Despite soothing words from Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke on Thursday, who said he supported an economic stimulus package, investors remained wary of the economy after a Fed report showed a sharp decline in manufacturing activity.

As a result, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost more than 300 points in afternoon trading, closing down 2.5 percent to 12,159.21 while the S&P 500 fell 2.9 percent to 1,333.27. Apparel shares were mixed with the S&P Retail Index shedding 0.7 percent to 371.45.

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