Dow down 146 on depressing data

Stocks closed lower Thursday, after a worse-than-expected report on business conditions in the mid-Atlantic region. News of a bulge in U.S. oil inventories sent oil stocks lower.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 142.96, to 12,284.30. Boeing, Chevron and General Motors were the biggest contributors to the loss. Only three of the 30 Dow industrials — Verizon Communications, AT&T and Wal-Mart Stores — ended higher.

An index of business conditions complied by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia dropped to a level many economists equate with a recession.

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