NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- U.S. stocks are closing sharply lower, with the Dow Jones industrial average down more than 588 points and the Standard & Poor's 500 index now down more than 10 percent off its recent high.
The slump is part of a global wave of selling triggered by increased signs of an economic slowdown in China.
The Dow fell 588.47 points, or 3.6 percent, to 15,871.28. The index dropped more than 1,000 points in the opening minutes of trading.
Local economist and financial advisers say you shouldn't panic sincie this correction has been expected.
"I would just be cautious, and let it stabilize first. Don't panic. I'm not panicking myself," said TSU professor Soumen Ghosh.
Estate and financial planner Hank Parrott says this is the time to look at your portfolio. He said to make sure you have the right mix of stocks, bonds and cash.
The allocation depends on how close you are to retirement. He says the closer you are the more conservative you should be with stocks. Then, he says make sure there is diversity in your stock holdings.
"If you understand how these things actually work as opposed to throwing darts at the board, so to speak, then you get your portfolio together to meet your specific needs in line with your specific risk tolerance. You'll have a lot more peace of mind in times like this," said Parrott.
Economists say the recent losses are corrections, and we have not reached a bear market. They say the Dow would have to lose another 10 percent before we reach that point.
(The Associated Press contributed to this story)