Stocks slid steeply on a string of bad news from American companies that indicated tough economic times ahead. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 243.36 points, or 1.8 percent, to close at 13,102.53, its worst loss since June. Investors were spooked by disappointing earnings reports from corporate bellwethers like DuPont, 3M, UPS, and Xerox, which indicated that slowing economic growth in China and ongoing turmoil in Europe could be taking a toll on American companies.
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