Stocks fell sharply, as surprisingly strong economic readings spurred fears of inflation and higher interest rates. Chief among the "bad" good news was the fact that housing starts were up 4.4% in September despite rising mortgage rates. Additionally, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia's October Business Outlook Survey shows a big increase in its prices-paid index, a measure of what manufacturers pay for raw materials. The index -- considered one measure of possible future inflation -- is now at its highest level since February 1989. The Dow Jones industrial average plunged 24.89 points, to 3911.15, in heavy trading. The S&P 500 fell 3.43, to 466.85. NASDAQ stocks dropped 2.82, to 767.80. Bond prices declined, as the yield on the benchmark 30-year Treasury rose to 7.90% from 7.87%. The price of gold fell five cents, to $390.95 per oz., in London trading.