The U.S. economy may be strengthening, but the outlook elsewhere is far less encouraging. On Tuesday the International Monetary Fund trimmed its forecast for global growth. A surprisingly weak report on industrial production in Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, added to the concerns.
Industrial companies, whose fortunes are closely tied those of the global economy, led the sell-off. Government bonds rallied as investors snapped up safe assets, pushing the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note close to its lowest level of the year.
After a weak September, the slump in stocks is showing no signs of abating in October. The Standard & Poor’s index has now dropped almost 4 percent since closing at a record Sept. 18.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 29.72 points, or 1.5 percent, to 1,935.10. The index closed at a record 2,011.36 on Sept. 18.
The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 272.52 points, or 1.6 percent, to 16,719.39. The Nasdaq composite fell 69.60 points, or 1.6 percent, to 4,385.20.
General Motors was among the biggest decliners in the S&P 500 after analysts at Morgan Stanley cut their price target for the stock. The analysts predict that the automaker’s earnings will suffer as it invests heavily in production. GM’s stock dropped $1.98, or 5.9 percent, to $31.77.
SodaStream was another big loser. The company said it isn’t winning over enough new customers in the U.S. and reported preliminary sales results that fell short of Wall Street’s expectations. The stock tumbled $6.05, or 21.9 percent, to $21.52.
The indications of slower growth in Europe and elsewhere outside of the U.S. also weighed on oil prices. Benchmark U.S. crude fell $1.49 to close at $88.85 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, its lowest level since April of 2013. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, fell 68 cents to close at $92.11 on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
Sliding oil prices are also hitting energy stocks, and the sector extended its losses on Tuesday. Energy companies in the S&P 500 have dropped 9.4 percent in the past month.
U.S. government bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.34 percent from 2.42 percent on Monday. That’s close to its lowest level of the year.
In metals trading, gold rose $5.10, or 0.4 percent, to $1,212.40 an ounce. Silver edged up 2 cents, or 0.1 percent, to $17.24 an ounce. Copper was little changed at $3.04 per pound.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Federal Reserve is due to release notes on its latest meeting on Wednesday. Investors will be looking for signs of when the Fed might raise interest rates.
Among other stocks making big moves on Tuesday:
• Keurig Green Mountain jumped after analysts at Goldman Sachs initiated their coverage of the stock with a “buy” rating, predicting that the company’s sales and earnings growth are poised to accelerate. Keurig’s stock jumped $6.50, or 4.9 percent, to $139.75.
• AGCO, an agricultural equipment maker, cut its third-quarter and full-year earnings forecasts. AGCO’s stock dropped $4.97, or 10.6 percent, $42.13.