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Dow drops 550 points; S&P falls 3.5 percent

Dow drops 550 points; S&P falls 3.5 percent
© Getty Images

The Dow Jones industrial average on Wednesday fell more than 550 points while the S&P 500 index fell 3.5 percent Wednesday, marking another dismal day for United States stocks.

U.S. stocks slid to lows not touched since 2014 as the oil prices fell to $27 per gallon, spurred by economic concerns in China and a market flood threat from Iran. The number of stocks hitting record lows was the highest since Nov. 20, 2008, as global stocks closed with losses. 

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The new year has been rough for the global economy, as slowing growth in China and turmoil in the Middle East is taking a toll on investor confidence.

A continuous economic downturn could become a major presidential campaign issue, a potential damper for candidates who tout President Obama's economic record and boon for those who insist on fundamental change.