Stocks are closing with their worst one-day loss of the year as investors look past the election and focus on big problems ahead in Washington and in Europe.
The Dow Jones industrial average plunged 313 points to end at 12,933 Wednesday, its worst day of 2012.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 34 points to 1,395 and the Nasdaq composite index gave up 75 points to 2,937.
American voters returned a divided government to power and left investors worrying about tax increases and spending cuts that could stall the economy unless Congress acts. In Europe, leaders warned that unemployment could remain high for years.
The losses were broad. Falling stocks overwhelmed rising ones five-to-one on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume was heavier than usual at 4.3 billion shares.