Dow Jones industrial average falls more than 200 points as Fed considers stimulus exit

NEW YORK (AP) - Financial markets are sliding after the Federal Reserve said it could end its huge bond-buying program by the middle of next year.

U.S. stocks fell sharply in early trading and the yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to the highest point since October 2011. Gold led a rout in commodity prices.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 202 points, or 1.3 percent, to 14,911 in the first 45 minutes of trading Thursday.

 The Standard & Poor's 500 index was down 21 points, or 1.3 percent, to 1,607.

 The yield on the 10-year Treasury note climbed to 2.38 percent.

 Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said Wednesday the central bank could end its bond purchases next year.

 Global markets also fell. Germany's benchmark index was down 2.4 percent, France's fell 2.5 percent.

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