NEW YORK Dec 27 U.S. stocks fell to session lows on Thursday after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that going over the fiscal cliff "looks like where we're headed."
Investors are worried that going over the cliff, a combination of tax hikes and spending cuts slated to take effect next week, could push the economy into recession.
The CBOE Volatility index jumped 4.5 percent to 20.36, rising above 20 for the first time since July.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 86.17 points, or 0.66 percent, at 13,028.42. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 9.67 points, or 0.68 percent, at 1,410.16. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 20.12 points, or 0.67 percent, at 2,970.04.