Dow falls 200 points in final hour of trading

For most of Monday the Dow Jones Industrial Average was in positive territory, but a sell-off in the last half hour left the Dow down 203 points.

Washington's trying to help the credit crunch and bring stability to the market.

The government started investing in nine major banks, buying their stock so those banks can lend more money.

"We started with the banks because that's targeted to providing more credit to the economy, but there are a lot of industries coming in and saying they need federal assistance," explained Assistant Treasury Secretary David Nason.

Automakers could be part of the next bailout.

General Motors and Chrysler are talking about a merger.

Both want government help beyond the $25 billion Congress set aside to make more fuel-efficient cars.

The White House says automakers with their own financing divisions may qualify just like banks to sell stock to the government.

Meanwhile, homebuilders got good news.

Even during last month's Wall Street crisis more people bought new homes.

The Commerce Department reports sales were up 2.7 percent in September.

Existing home sales are up as well.

In other good news for consumers, oil prices are down to their lowest point in almost a year and a half.

Monday's national average price for regular unleaded was $2.67 a gallon, and that's after OPEC cut production last week to meet lower demand.