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Stocks Slide; Bernanke Cites Job Losses

Alex Wong/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- After its lowest close in more than a year, the U.S. stock market opened down again Tuesday into bear market territory as Europe’s debt crisis continued to remain a concern for U.S. investors.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell to 10,468, down 168 points, or 1.58 percent, at 10:38 a.m. The broader S&P 500 was down 12 points to 1086 -- that’s a 20 percent decline from its April high, enough to herald a bear market on Wall Street if the losses hold until the closing bell.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke told a Congressional committee Tuesday that revisions based on economic data show an even longer recovery from the even deeper than previously judged recession.

“It is clear that, overall, the recovery from the crisis has been much less robust than we hoped,” said Bernanke during the hearing.

“Households have been very cautious in their spending decisions, as declines in the house prices and in the values of financial assets have reduced household wealth, and many families continue to struggle with high debt burdens or reduced access to credit,” said Bernanke.

“Probably the most significant factor depressing consumer confidence, however, has been the poor performance of the job market,” he continued. In the summer of 2011, private payrolls only added an average of 100,000 jobs per month, according to his report.

Bernanke shared some good news during his testimony, including a 15 percent rise in U.S. manufacturing production, saying “the functioning of the financial markets and the banking system in the United States has improved significantly.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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