Stocks in a late swoon over weak economic signs

Associated Press
FILE - In this Friday, May 31, 2013 file photo, trader Robert Moran, right, works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Global stock markets fell Wednesday June 5, 2013 as signs the U.S. Federal Reserve might scale back its super-loose monetary policy caused investors to trim equity investments. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

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.