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Sep. 12--The United States is a step closer to recession after the World Trade Center disaster, some economists said Tuesday.
The tragedy comes at a critical juncture, with the economy already teetering on the edge of a downturn and stock markets worldwide shaky. Now these experts fear that a key prop supporting economic growth -- consumer spending -- may have finally been kicked away when the two hijacked airliners crashed into the twin towers.
The concern was dramatized early today in Tokyo, where stocks plunged below the key 10,000-point mark for the first time in 17 years as traders dumped shares in reaction to the attacks. The dollar was sharply lower against the yen.
A wave of selling also is feared when financial markets reopen in the United States. Markets here will be closed today, and when they will reopen wasn't clear Tuesday.
"Many key people in the financial market …