NEW YORK -- Fresh doubts over the U.S. economic recovery pushed the stock market closer to a long-awaited correction as investors worried about global growth.
The Dow Jones industrial average plummeted 326 points on Monday as the index of blue-chip stocks continued the steep sell-off from January.
The Dow fell 326.05, or 2.1%, to 15,372.80 on Monday, its worst day this year. The Dow has shed more than 1,200 points so far this year.
The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell even harder, losing 40.70 points, or 2.3%, to 1,741.89. For the year, the S&P 500 is down about 6% -- the most it has fallen since late May to late June of last year, according to S&P Capital IQ.
The technology-focused Nasdaq composite index lost 106.92, or 2.6%, to 3,996.96.
A weaker-than-expected manufacturing report showed a steep drop in factory orders last month, adding to concerns over the strength of the U.S. economy's recovery.
Monday's stumble in the stock market follows the Dow's 5.3% drop in January, its worst monthly performance since May 2012.
Investors have grown increasingly worried over growth in emerging markets as the Federal Reserve scales back its massive stimulus program.
The Fed program, known as quantitative easing, has been pumping easy money into the global financial system. It helped lift the Dow 27% in 2013 as it lured investors into riskier assets such as stocks by keeping a lid on interest rates.
Developing countries benefited too, but investors are now worried the liquidity papered over underlying economic problems.
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