US stocks decline broadly following a slump in Europe and weak corporate earnings reports

MarketsAssociated Press

U.S. stocks are closing broadly lower following steep declines in Europe.

Investors are worried that Greece may default on its debt and exit the euro currency union. Chinese regulators were also taking steps Friday to rein in a runaway stock market there.

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In the U.S., American Express and other companies fell after releasing disappointing results.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 279 points, or 1.5 percent, to 17,826. It was down as much as 357 points earlier.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 23 points, or 1.1 percent, to 2,081.

The Nasdaq composite fell 76 points, or 1.5 percent, to 4,931.

European markets fell sharply. Germany's DAX lost 2.6 percent and traders shifted money into German government bonds, which investors see as a safe haven in turbulent times.