Stocks fall sharply; investors fret about 'cliff'

Investors draw little hope from Obama remarks on 'fiscal cliff'; stocks fall sharply


NEW YORK — Stocks finished the day down sharply as investors worry about the “fiscal cliff.”

The Dow Jones industrial average ended the day down 185 points at 12,570. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was down 19 at 1,355. The Nasdaq composite index closed down 37 at 2,846.

Investors didn't draw much hope from a news conference by President Obama. He wants Congress to extend expiring tax cuts immediately for all but the highest income earners.

Taxes are set to go up for almost all Americans on Jan. 1, the same day sharp cuts to government spending begin to take effect. The combination could send the country back into recession.

Declining stocks outnumbered advancers by about 9-to-1. Volume was heavier than average, more than 4 billion shares.