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Stocks continue slide after weak U.S. manufacturing report

NEW YORK -- First it was worries over China and other developing countries. Now investors have another reason to question the U.S. economy's growth.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 224.64 points, or 1.4%, to 15,474.21 in mid-day trading in New York. The fall in stocks came after a report showed a slowdown in the U.S. manufacturing sector.

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The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 29.78 points, or 1.7%, to 1,752.81. The technology-focused Nasdaq composite index lost 89.63 points, or 2.2%, to 4,014.25.

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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