Stocks plunge as worries about Europe intensify

U.S. stocks are plunging on fresh fears that Europe’s debt crisis will tip the global economy back into recession.

The European Central Bank said Friday morning that a key official had resigned. The departure of the bank’s top economist signaled that policymakers remain at odds over how to improve Europe’s economy.

U.S. companies would be hurt by a recession in Europe, a key trading partner. The U.S. economy grew very slowly in the first quarter. Unemployment remains high.

Investors sold off shares and bought investments seen as lower-risk, sending the yield on the 10-year Treasury note lower.

At 11:45 a.m. Eastern time, the Dow is down 284 points, or 2.5 percent, at 11,011. The S&P 500 is down 28, or 2.4 percent, at 1,158. The Nasdaq is down 49, or 1.9 percent, at 2,480.