The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled nearly 300 points, or 4.2 percent, to 6,736, its lowest level in nearly 12 years, as the government's latest efforts to stabilize AIG gave little comfort to worried investors. The S&P 500 fell 4.7 percent to 701 and Nasdaq declined 4 percent to 1,323.

All the big banks saw their shares plummet. Citigroup (C) continued its spiral toward $1, falling 20 percent to $1.20, and JP Morgan Chase (JPM) and Wells Fargo (WFC) also saw steep declines of 7.4 percent and 10.4 percent, respectively.

Energy stocks were hit even harder than financials, falling as fears that the recession could deepen hurt crude oil prices. ExxonMobil (XOM) fell 4.4 percent to $64.91, ConocoPhillips (COP) dropped 5.9 percent to $35.13 and Chevron (CVX) slipped 5.1 percent to $57.62.

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