Stocks fall as investors await bank bailout plan

NEW YORK (AP) -- Volatility is sweeping through the financial markets as investors await details of the government's plan to buy $700 billion in banks' mortgage debt. Stocks are falling sharply, taking the Dow Jones industrials down more than 200 points, while investors are seeking safety in hard assets such as oil, which has shot up more than $11 a barrel.

Investors are relieved that federal authorities are taking action to relieve the nation's banks of their toxic assets. But Wall Street is not sure yet how successful the plan will be in unfreezing credit markets, which many businesses depend on to fund day-to-day operations, and for propping up the still-weak housing market.

The Dow is down 238 points at the 11,149 level, while oil is up $11.45 at $116 a barrel. The dollar is down sharply, while the credit markets are somewhat steadier than during last week's frantic trading.