US stocks plunge on debt standoff, dismal growth

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U.S. stocks are plunging after a dismal report on economic growth added to traders’ fears about a stalemate over raising the country’s borrowing limit.

The government said early Friday that economic growth in the first half of the year slowed to its weakest pace since the recession ended. High gas prices and government cutbacks dragged on the economy.

Concerns about Congress’ failure to increase the nation’s borrowing ability increased as House Republicans tried for the third straight day to round up votes for a bill that is unlikely to pass the Senate.

Shortly after the opening bell, the S&P 500 is down 14, or 1.1 percent, at 1,286. The Dow is down 120, or 1 percent, at 12,120. The Nasdaq is down 34, or 1.2 percent, at 2,732.