National

May 31, 2013 8:39 PM by Connie Murphy

Stocks slump in late trading; Dow down nearly 209

NEW YORK (AP) - Traders and investors are starting to question whether this year's record-setting rally has run its course. Concern is building that the Federal Reserve may slow its $85 billion bond-buying program.

After moving between small losses and gains for most of the day, the stock market plunged in the final hour of trading. The Dow Jones industrial average lost more than 200 points, half of them in the last 15 minutes. It was the worst drop in six weeks.

The Dow ended down nearly 209 points at 15,115, a loss of 1.4 percent. But the bluechip index held on to a gain of 1.9 percent for May and is still up 15 percent so far this year.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 23 ½ points to 1,630, a decline of 1.4 percent. The Nasdaq fell 35 points to 3,455, a decline of 1 percent.

Some traders say the afternoon swoon came as large investors rearranged their holdings to match changes in the widely followed MSCI indexes. Others say rapid-fire automated sell programs kicked in as the decline accelerated, exacerbating the loss.

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