U.S. stocks fell broadly yesterday after a report from China added to growing signs that the world's second-largest economy is slowing. The selling spared few companies, even those reporting solid earnings.

"It's pretty ugly," said Randy Frederick, a managing director of active trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab. "When you've got a market that's near record highs . . . people are looking for any excuse to take profits."

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Stocks fell from the start of trading after an HSBC survey of Chinese manufacturing fell to the lowest point since July and suggested that the country's factory sector was shrinking. Earlier this week, China reported its slowest annual economic growth since 1999.

The Dow was down as much as 232 points before trimming its loss late in the day. It closed down 175.99 points, at 16,197.35. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 0.89 percent to 1,828.46. The Nasdaq composite declined 0.57 percent to 4,218.87.

Fearful investors poured money into U.S. government debt securities, pushing the yield on the 10-year Treasury note down to 2.78 percent from 2.86 percent late Wednesday. That was the lowest since Nov. 29.

-- AP