U.S. Markets close in 3 hrs 43 mins

News Summary: US stocks have worst drop of 2012

The Associated Press

CERTAINTY FAILS: Investors dumped stocks Wednesday in the sharpest sell-off of the year, just hours after President Barack Obama was re-elected decisively. Traders had hoped that the election would bring certainty and lift the market. The opposite happened.

GRIM HORIZON: Many appeared troubled by big problems looming in the U.S. and Europe. If lawmakers can't strike a deal, taxes will rise sharply at the end of the year and spending will be slashed, potentially derailing the economic recovery.

FOUR-YEAR ECHO: It was the worst day for stocks this year, but not the worst after an election. That distinction belongs to 2008, when Barack Obama was elected at the depths of the financial crisis. The Dow fell 486 points the next day.