Wall Street Rings in the New Year with a Big Sell-Off

The major indexes fell sharply -- with the Nasdaq off over 7% -- as analysts downgraded key tech names

The New Year is supposed to be a time for turning over a new leaf. But Wall Street paid no heed to the old saying. In the first trading session of 2001, investors were again overcome by old fears of shrinking corporate profit growth. Why? A report released early in the session revealed that a key gauge of activity in the nation's manufacturing sector dropped to its lowest level in nearly a decade, reinforcing concerns that the U.S. economy is slowing too dramatically.

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