Stocks plunge on anxiety about what’s next for the economies of southern Europe and for China. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 204 points to 12,759. Mark Lasseigne has your stock market report in today's Acadiana Business Index.

Financial stocks drove the broader market lower. Shares of Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group paced the sector’s retreat, falling by 5.3% and 4.2%, respectively. The pullback came after Goldman posted its first loss in Asia since 2008.

Adding to the stress, the Institute of International Finance reportedly warned that a disorderly default in Greece would force Spain and Italy to seek aid and cause more than $1.3 trillion in damage to the region. And, a second reading on the euro zone's fourth-quarter gross domestic product showed a contraction in the final three months of 2011.

The Stoxx Europe 600 dropped 2.7%.

Another soft spot for global growth was Brazil, Latin America's largest economy. Data showed that fourth-quarter GDP rose less than expected.

Asian markets retreated for the second straight session, extending yesterday’s losses after China cut its 2012 target for economic growth.

Crude futures were weaker on fresh concerns over a potential slowdown in demand from China and Europe. Light sweet crude settled at $104.70 a barrel.

And, gold closed lower at $1,672 an ounce.