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Investors fear US echoing UK woes

US&nbsp;stocks&nbsp;slid in a broad sell-off yesterday as investors, concerned about the US fiscal condition, exited dollar denominated assets across the board.<br /><br />Markets came under severe selling pressure as a result of an outlook downgrade for the UK&rsquo;s triple-A credit rating heightened fears that the United States, with its increasing budget deficit and weakened economy, could face a similar fate.<br /><br />The activity was unusual in that the sell-off in US stocks did not produce a flight to assets typically considered havens in a storm -- notably the US dollar and the US government bond market. Instead, those markets also weakened for similar reasons.<br /><br />Bill Gross, the co-chief investment officer of the huge bond firm, Pacific Investment Management, said fears that the United States is at risk of losing its AAA credit rating were hurting all US assets. Gross said that investors fear the&nbsp;US is &ldquo;going the way of the UK &ndash; losing AAA rating, which affects all financial assets and the dollar&rdquo; as governments around the world spend billions to revive growth.<br /><br />Shares of big manufacturers dropped, with <strong>United Technologies</strong> falling 1.9 per cent to $50.76, while Boeing shed 2.9 per cent to $43.29. The big US aircraft maker left its full-year forecast unchanged on Thursday.<br /><br />The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 129.91 points, or 1.54 per cent, to 8,292.13. The Standard &amp; Poor&rsquo;s 500 Index fell 15.14 points, or 1.68 per cent, to 888.33. The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 32.59 points, or 1.89 per cent, to 1,695.25.<br /><br />US Treasuries plunged after the government said it would sell a massive amount of new debt next week, while earlier in the day, the US dollar fell to its lowest level this year against a basket of currencies.<br /><br />Investors also beat up technology shares. <strong>Apple</strong> was the Nasdaq&rsquo;s top drag, down 1.3 per cent at $124.18. Tech companies&rsquo; fortunes are closely linked to a growing economy.<br /><br />US government data showed ongoing claims rose to a fresh record as the recession battered employment, but the number of workers filing new claims for jobless benefits declined 12,000 last week.