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Stocks slump, extending decline from last week

Traders work on the floor of the New

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange during the afternoon of April 4, 2014 on Wall Street. Credit: Getty Images / Andrew Burton

For investors, a volatile stock market passed a worrisome milestone Monday. The market logged its longest losing streak in two months, and extended a sell-off that began last week.

After biotechnology and Internet stocks pulled the market lower on Friday, it was companies that sell nonessential goods and services that dragged on the market Monday. Concerns about earnings and sales drove declines. CarMax slumped after the used car dealer reported lower net income, and Mattel dropped on concerns about demand for big-name toys.

Stocks have been volatile this year after surging in 2013. Investors now appear to question whether their lofty prices will be justified by what's expected to be slower growth in first-quarter earnings.

"The markets are struggling to choose a direction," said Joe Tanious, a global market strategist for JPMorgan Funds.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 1.08 percent to 1,845.04. It has fallen for three straight days, the longest losing span since late January, and has shed 2.4 percent since its all-time high of 1,890.89 on April 2.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 166.84 points to 16,245.87 Monday. The Nasdaq composite fell 1.16 percent to 4,079.75. -- AP

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