Wall Street stocks skidded to one of the year's worst losses as oil surged over $140 for the first time ever and swamped markets already sinking under the weight of revived credit fears.
Concern mounted over more write-downs at major U.S. banks as investment bank Goldman Sachs sent an alarming note to clients about further losses. A separate Goldman note on the auto industry's woes sent General Motors stock plunging to its worst level in 53 years.
The dollar retreated broadly as investors discounted the chance of a U.S. interest rate hike any time soon after the Federal Reserve Wednesday held rates at 2 percent. That boosted the euro to a record high of 169.45 against the yen.