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Dow, Nasdaq down sharply

U.S. stocks return to the red, following the lead of global markets unimpressed by yesterday's record Wall Street gains.

U.S. stocks closed sharply lower today following the lead of global markets, which were unimpressed by yesterday's record gains on Wall Street.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell as much as 168 points today, shedding 155.76 points to close down nearly 2 percent, at 7,865.02. Yesterday, the Dow registered a single-day record gain of 380.53 points.

The Nasdaq also fell today, dropping 36.29 points to close at 1,624.57.

Yesterday's gains came in reaction to a speech Friday by Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan, in which he hinted that the U.S. central bank may lower interest rates to calm the turmoil in overseas markets. Because the U.S. markets were closed Monday to observe the Labor Day holiday, stocks were able to react for the first time to Greenspan's speech only yesterday.

Overseas, Japan's Nikkei, still plagued by government inaction in turning around the country's longtime economic woes, fell 1.06 percent or 157.95 points to 14,755.54. Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell sharply, losing 283.80 points or 3.47 percent to close at 7,905.45.