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Stocks plunge amid global recovery fears

The Dow plummeted by more than 2 percent on Wednesday, losing about 279 points, after Moody's cut Greece's bond ratings

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General Motors, Ford and Toyota slipped after the automakers posted figures that showed a decline in May auto sales. In addition, Toyota said it is recalling 105,000 early models of the Prius because of problems with power steering and the gearbox.

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Nokia declined for a second day to a 13-year low after at least eight brokerages cut their price target on the stock. The mobile phone handset maker cut its sales outlook Tuesday and said it expects sales from its products and services to be far worse than initial projections. Research In Motion also slipped amid worries the Blackberry maker could be in a similar situation.

Juniper plunged after the CEO said the firm may see a negative impact from the Japanese earthquake and added that the company is not immune to reduced federal spending.

Expedia shares gained following news that deal-of-the-day site Groupon is partnering with the travel website to create a new discount service.

Also on the tech front, Yahoo slumped despite news the search-engine company said it resolved a dispute with partner Alibaba Group over the Chinese company's transfer of its prized online payments unit.

Among retailers, Macy's slipped even after the department-store chain reported a 7.4 percent gain in May sales, beating the 5.6 percent gain expected by analysts. Most retail outlets are reporting same store sales on Thursday.

Dollar General sank after the discount retailer's earnings fell short of expectations as it needed to cut prices on clothes. And Tiffany's also sagged after Deutche Bank downgraded the luxury retailer to "hold" from "buy."

Lions Gate Entertainment jumped after the entertainment company beat earnings expectations, helped by lower distribution and marketing costs. Revenues, however, fell short.

On the M&A front, KKR said it was selling the principal subsidiary of Hilcorp Resources for $3.5 billion to Marathon Oil. The deal is for 140,000 acres in the Eagle Ford shale field in South Texas.