Stocks in a late swoon over weak economic signs

NEW YORK (AP) — A series of weak reports on the U.S. economy is sending the stock market sharply lower.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 203 points to 14,973 in afternoon trading Wednesday, a loss of 1.4 percent. It’s the first time the Dow has traded below 15,000 in a month.

The slump came after several reports suggested that the economy is slowing.

The data included a slowdown in hiring at private companies, a drop in mortgage applications and weak service-sector job growth.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 24 points, or 1.5 percent, to 1,607.

The Nasdaq fell 47 points to 3,398, a loss of 0.7 percent.

As traders sold stocks, they fled to the safety of government bonds. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.09 percent.

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