Stocks End Day Down

U.S. stocks sold off Monday, thanks to worse-than-expected data on Chinese economic growth.

Adding to equities’ decline was the fact that gold prices plunged more than 9 percent to a two-year low.

Before the opening bell, news emerged that China’s economy expanded 7.7 percent in the first quarter, falling short of expectations for 8 percent growth. Later in the day, reports of explosions at the site of the Boston Marathon heightened investors’ jitters.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gave up 265.86 points, or 1.8 percent, to close at 14,599.20. The S&P 500 index slid 36.49 points, or 2.3 percent, to 1,552.36, and the Nasdaq Composite Index fell 78.46 points, or 2.4 percent, to 3,216.49.

Meanwhile, a basket of industry stocks tracked by Footwear News swung even more widely into the red, slumping an average of 3 percent.

Saks Inc. lost the most ground, slipping 7.1 percent to close at $11.15 a share. It was followed by Sears Holdings Corp., which fell 6.8 percent to finish at $48.70 a share.

Athletic firms such as Under Armour Inc. and Nike Inc. moved the least, inching down 1.1 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively.

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