NEW YORK - Wall Street again succumbed to a disheartening reality: The recession is taking a heavy toll on U.S. companies.

Stocks closed sharply lower Thursday on more bad news about earnings and growing worries about banks.

The major indexes ratcheted up and down in the session; the Dow Jones industrial average fell as much 271 points, came close to breaking even and then slumped before closing down 105.

The Dow fell 105.30, or 1.28 percent, to 8,122.80. Broader market indexes recovered some of their losses but still showed big drops. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 12.74, or 1.52 percent, to 827.50. The technology-heavy Nasdaq composite index dropped 41.58, or 2.76 percent, to 1,465.49.