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NEW YORK (AP) _ Scared investors sent stocks reeling Monday as Wall Street resumed trading after its longest shutdown since the Great Depression. The Dow Jones industrial average set a new record for a one-day point drop and closed below 9,000 for the first time in more than 2 1/2 years.
The Dow ended the day down about 681 points at the 8,924, according to preliminary calculations. Its previous record for a one-day drop was 617.78, set April 14, 2000.
The heavy selling was widely expected in a market already fragile because of poor corporate profits and outlooks. And since the attacks, which shut the nation’s stock market for four days, the major airlines have announced cutbacks and reduced schedules, adding to investors’ nervousness about the future.
But the Federal Reserve, hoping to boost the economy and the market’s confidence, cut interest rates by a half-point _ the eighth rate cut so far this year _ an hour before trading began.
The nation’s financial leaders had called on investors to treat the market’s reopening as a buying opportunity instead of a reason to sell.
New York Stock Exchange chairman Richard A. Grasso was sanguine about the volatility after the opening bell: ``Today’s market is not important. It’s the market a year from now, two years from now.″