Photos by agencies. Pedestrians walk by the New York Stock Exchange on August 18, 2011 in New York City. Amid concerns about the US and global economies, stocks fell sharply on today. At the preliminary close, the Dow Jones industrial average had fallen 418 points, or 3.7 per cent, to close at 10,991. Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on August 18, 2011 in New York City. An investor reacts to steep falls on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) in Sydney on August 19, 2011. Australian stocks slumped 2.75 per cent following steep falls on international markets amid new worries that Europe and the US are sinking into recession. Chinese actor Jet Li (C) with officials from the Chinese Wushu Association on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on August 18, 2011 in New York. The Dow Jones Industrial average ended up closing down approximately 420 points. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 419.63 points (3.68 per cent) to 10,990.58, following an earlier rout on Europe's bourses. The broader S&P 500 sank 53.23 points (4.46 per cent) to 1,140.65, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite was hit harder by selling, tumbling 131.05 In this Aug. 16, 2011 photo, job seekers stand in line to enter a job fair, in Independence, Ohio. The number of people applying for unemployment benefits rose back above 400,000 last week. Still, the average number of applications over the past four weeks fell to its lowest level since mid-April. That suggests the job market may be improving. In this Aug. 15, 2011 photo, a line of job seekers, waiting to see recruiters, twists through a hotel lobby during a career fair in Plano, Texas. A man tries to attract customers in the jewelry district on August 18, 2011 in New York City. As the price of gold continues to soar, gold buyers in the district have been doing a brisk business as individuals look to sell their gold while prices are high. Gold is currently selling for around $1820 an ounce. An employee shows a turtle made of gold at a jewellery shop in Seoul on August 19, 2011. The price of gold hit a record high above 1,816 USD an ounce as demand for the safe haven investment rose on resurgent worries about a possible new recession for the global economy. An employee at a jewellery store displays gold chains in Singapore on August 19, 2011. Gold closed at a record 1,863 USD an ounce in Asia on August 19. Jewelry traders in the diamond district wear signs advertising to buy gold on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2011 in New York. Fears from weak global economic reports sent gold up to its latest record high, near US$1,830 an ounce, as traders sought to store their money in the perceived safe haven.