JAPAN CRISIS: Fears that a nuclear power plant is nearing a partial meltdown led to a broad sell-off in financial markets Wednesday, continuing a three-day string of losses. Major indexes erased nearly all of their gains for the year.
BROAD DROP: All 30 stocks that make up the Dow industrial average closed lower for the day. Each of the 10 company groups that make up the S&P 500 index lost ground.
THE INDEXES: The Dow closed down 242.12 points, or 2 percent, at 11,613.30. The S&P 500 fell 24.99 points to 1,256.88. The Nasdaq composite dipped 50.51 to 2,616.82.