Stocks: S&P Slumps as Weak Manufacturing Data Stuns Traders

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© Reuters. © Reuters. – Stocks stumbled badly to start the fourth quarter as a weak report on U.S. manufacturing prompted broad selling.

The was off 1.23%, with the down 1.3%. The dropped 1.13%. The Dow’s 344-point decline was its largest one-day point loss since a 623-point drop on August 23.

The weakness was heaviest in classic industrials stocks like 3M (NYSE:), (NYSE:), General Motors (NYSE:), Ford Motor (NYSE:) and Caterpillar (NYSE:).

Railroad stocks fell more than 2.5% as the fell more than 2.3%.

The selloff was set off by a weaker-than-expected report on manufacturing from the . The report showed the falling to its lowest level in 10 years.

The report underscored how stress in manufacturing can be amplified throughout the economy. Manufacturing has been hit by weak export markets, especially China, which is engaged in a bitter trade battle with the Trump Administration.

moved lower and interest rates also fell as many investors decided the safety of their money was more important than making a killing, at least for now.

While the major indexes finished the third quarter with their best nine-month performances since 1997, they have struggled since hitting new highs in July. The S&P 500 is off nearly 2.8% from its July peak, with the 2.8% below its peak and the Nasdaq down 5% from its peak.

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