After a rough January, stock extends decline

Modified: February 3, 2014 at 9:39 pm •  Published: February 3, 2014
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For investors, February is starting out just as rough as January.

U.S. stocks tumbled on Monday, pushing the Dow Jones industrial average down more than 320 points after reports of sluggish U.S growth added to investor worries about the global economy. The slump follows the Dow’s worst January performance since 2009.

The market stumbled from the get-go, with U.S. markets opening lower after declines in European and Japanese indexes. Then it quickly turned into a slide as a spate of discouraging economic data poured in.

By late afternoon, the sell-off accelerated further, bringing the Dow down more than 7 percent for the year. The S&P 500 index was down more than 5 percent on the year.

Some stock watchers took the market’s decline in stride. They considered it a necessary recalibration following the market’s record highs at the end of last year.

“It’s a bit painful for investors to see the equities markets drop as they have, but this is healthy for this market,” said Chris Gaffney, a senior market strategist at EverBank. “We’ve been almost 21/2 years without a 10 percent correction. So we’re still in that healthy correction, if you will.”

All told, the Dow tumbled 326.05 points, or 2.1 percent, to 15,372.80. It fell as much as 342 points earlier in the afternoon. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index lost 40.70 points, or 2.3 percent, to 1,741.89. The Nasdaq composite dropped 106.92 points, or 2.6 percent, to 3,996.96.

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