Crude oil prices plunged sharply Thursday, dropping close to $80 per barrel in New York, a drop equivalent to the shift in some equity markets. Equity markets dropped more than 4 percent in Hong Kong and India, and were dropping at least that much in Britain, Sweden, Germany, France, Belgium and Italy. Crude oil contracts listed on the New York Mercantile Exchange also lost more than 4 percent after the U.S. Federal Reserve\'s policy announcement Wednesday that shook markets from New York to Sydney. The Fed said the economic recovery was floundering and announced it would shift $400 billion of its short-term securities to long-term bonds. The announcement sparked a global sell-off. In New York, November contract West Texas Intermediate crude gave up $5.41 to $80.50 per barrel. Home heating oil also fell, losing 8.57 cents to $2.8485 per gallon. Reformulated blendstock gasoline prices lost 10.65 cents to $2.56 per gallon. Henry Hub natural gas prices dropped 8 cents to $3.71 per million British thermal units. At the pump, the national average price of unleaded gasoline dropped sharply Wednesday to Thursday, shedding 1.4 cents to $3.556 per gallon, AAA said.