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The Dow was down than 50 points after the Institute of Supply Management said its manufacturing index fell to 50.9. That was barely above the 50 point figure that indicates growth. Economists had been expecting a much higher reading of 55.
The manufacturing report comes just one trading day after the government said that the economy grew at an annual rate of just 1.3 percent from April through June. This year, the economy has grown at its slowest pace since the recession ended in June 2009. Sharp reductions in short-term government spending could further weaken the economy, analysts say.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 51 points, or 0.4 percent, to 12,092 in midmorning trading. The broader Standard and Poor's 500 index lost 7, or 0.5 percent, to 1,285. The Nasdaq composite lost 10, or 0.4 percent, to 2,746.
Bond yields fell to the lowest level of the year as investors moved into safer assets. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.73 percent from 2.80 percent late Friday.
Stocks rose early Monday after President Barack Obama and Congressional leaders announced Sunday that they had agreed on a deal to raise the nation's borrowing limit ahead of Tuesday's deadline. Investors have been worried that the U.S. might default if a deal wasn't reached.
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