Sept. 15 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. stocks tumbled, pushing the Standard & Poor's 500 Index to the steepest drop since the September 2001 terrorist attacks, as Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.'s bankruptcy and declining commodities increased speculation that credit-market losses and the economic slowdown will worsen.
Stocks erased more than $600 billion in value as financial shares in the S&P 500 decreased the most since at least 1989, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. American International Group Inc. sank 61 percent and Washington Mutual Inc. decreased 27 percent. Concern the U.S. is heading for a recession pushed oil lower, prompting a drop in energy stocks, and sent General Electric Co. down 8 percent.
``Fear is in charge,'' said Henry Herrmann, president and chief executive officer of Waddell & Reed Financial Inc. in Overland Park, Kansas, which manages $70 billion. ``This blows another hole in the banking system's ability to extend credit.''