NEW YORK, NOV. 9 -- Stock prices fell sharply today as traders shunned the market and volume on the New York exchange dropped to its lowest in almost a month.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 58.85 points to 1900.20, a loss of 3 percent, making it the ninth-largest point drop on record.

After the close of trade, meanwhile, about 1,100 clerical workers at the New York Stock Exchange voted to go on strike, but an official said the exchange would open as usual Tuesday morning.

Today's trading marked the first time since the market collapsed Oct. 19 that program traders were allowed to practice their computerized techniques without curbs. However, the traders just barely tested the water with a few minor selling flurries early in the session.

"There's a great deal of feeling against the programs, and I think they're going to lie fairly low for a while," said Josephthal & Co. Vice President Trude Latimer.

Even with Big Board trading extended 30 minutes to a 3:30 p.m. close, turnover dropped to 160.6 million shares from 228.2 million Friday, making it the slowest session since 141.8 million shares changed hands Oct. 12.

Losing issues outnumbered winners by 3 to 1.

Broad-market indexes also tumbled. The New York Stock Exchange index fell 3.69 to 136.35. Standard & Poor's 500-stock index dropped 7.24 to 243.17. The price of an average share fell 84 cents.

Bonds and the dollar also continued under selling pressure.

In the wake of the market's 508-point plunge and turmoil in investment communities worldwide, the administration is supporting an easier money policy to head off recession while putting support for the dollar on the back burner.

It was unclear today what effect the clerks' strike would have on Tuesday's NYSE trading. A bargaining session between the NYSE and Local 153 of the Office and Professional Employees International Union ended this afternoon and the membership voted 2-to-1 to go on strike, said Michael Goodwin, the union's secretary-treasurer.

The union's contract expired at midnight Oct. 31, but the floor reporters, clerks, secretaries and maintenance workers kept working while federally mediated talks continued. No further talks are scheduled.

The union also represents about 325 clerical workers at the Securities Industry Automation Corp., which handles securities transactions. Workers at both locations will set up picket lines at 8 a.m., Goodwin said.

Richard Torrenzano, a vice-president of the exchange, said supervisory and management personnel would perform the jobs of the striking workers.

Unisys agreed to acquire Timeplex in a share-for-share stock swap, leaving Timeplex up 1 3/4 to 28 1/2 and Unisys down 2 1/8 at 30 1/2.

DynCorp rose 1 1/4 to 19 after accepting a cash-securities offer worth some $24.75 a share.

{Following drops by the London, New York and Frankfurt stock exchanges, Tokyo's 225-share market index slumped 335.21 points to end the morning at 22,083.16 today. On Monday, the index lost 218.64 points, Reuters reported.}