US STOCKS-Wall St slides on news of Malaysian airliner crash
* Malaysian Airliner downed in Ukraine war zone, 295 dead
* Morgan Stanley profit more than doubles, beats estimates
* Microsoft to cut up to 18,000 jobs, 14 percent of workforce
* Dow off 0.5 pct; S&P 500 down 0.7 pct; Nasdaq off 0.9 pct (Updates to afternoon)
By Angela Moon
NEW YORK, July 17 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks fell on Thursday in volatile trading on news that a Malaysian Airlines passenger jet crashed near the Ukraine-Russia border, after the United States and European Union imposed sanctions on Russia.
Investors sold equities in a move to avoid risk because of conflicting reports about the reason why the plane went down. A New York Stock Exchange floor trader, who spoke on condition of anonymity, cited reports that the plane might been shot down.
"What's happening in the market is what you'd expect, a risk reversal. Stocks fall a bit, gold rises a bit, energy prices are still high, the volatility index spikes," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities in New York.
The CBOE Volatility index surged 17.6 percent to 12.94 and was on track to post its biggest daily percentage gain in at least three months. Spot gold rose 1.4 percent to above $1,315 an ounce and U.S. crude shot up 1.8 percent to $103.03 a barrel. Continuación...