US stocks open sharply lower on bleak Fed outlook

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NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks are opening sharply lower after the Federal Reserve indicated that the U.S. economic slump could last for years.

Moments after the opening bell, the Dow Jones industrial average is down 227 points, or 2 percent, at 10,896. The Standard & Poor's 500 is down 21, or 1.8 percent, at 1,144 The Nasdaq composite is down 71, or 2.8 percent, at 2,466.

The decline came even as the New York Stock Exchange a rule designed to make trading smoother as markets open. The step is only taken when stocks are expected to be extremely volatile. Thursday morning, Dow Jones industrial futures had been down nearly 300 points.

On Wednesday, the Fed announced an economic stimulus plan that was largely expected. But global stocks slid because of the Fed's bleak assessment of the U.S. economy's future.