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Wall St plunges as fears of a fresh slump weigh

US stocks fell yesterday as downbeat comments on the economy from tech company Cisco Systems and retail chain Kohl's cast doubt on the strength of the US recovery.

Cisco’s warnings about a still weak labour market and Kohl's saying it was unconvinced a recovery was at hand underscored the downbeat mood among investors alreadly rattled by fears of sovereign debt defaults in the Eurozone. Cisco shares fell 4.5 per cent to $25.53 and Kohl's lost 5.8 per cent to $53.81.

In addition, a report showed the number of US workers filing for jobless benefits fell only slightly last week, which failed to back up sharply improving monthly payrolls data and suggested the unemployment rate will remain high. Home builders' shares also fell sharply.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 113.96 points, or 1.05 per cent, to 10,782.95. The Standard & Poor’s Index fell 14.23 points, or 1.21 per cent, to 1,157.44. The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 30.66 points, or 1.26 per cent, to 2,394.36.