NEW YORK — Worries about weakening global growth drove the stock market lower Tuesday.

The U.S. economy may be strengthening, but the outlook elsewhere is far less encouraging. On Tuesday the International Monetary Fund trimmed its forecast for global growth. A surprisingly weak report on industrial production in Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, added to the concerns.

Industrial companies, whose fortunes are closely tied those of the global economy, led the sell-off. Government bonds rallied as investors snapped up safe assets, pushing the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note close to its lowest level of the year.

After a weak September, the slump in stocks is showing no signs of abating in October. The Standard & Poor’s index has dropped almost 4 percent since closing at a record Sept. 18.

“Investors are starting to get worried that Europe is going to dent growth,” said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 29.72 points, or 1.5 percent, to 1,935.10. The index closed at a record 2,011.36 on Sept. 18.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 272.52 points, or 1.6 percent, to 16,719.39. The Nasdaq composite fell 69.60 points, or 1.6 percent, to 4,385.20.

General Motors was among the biggest decliners in the S&P 500 after analysts at Morgan Stanley cut their price target for the stock. The analysts predict that the automaker’s earnings will suffer as it invests heavily in production. GM’s stock dropped $1.98, or 5.9 percent, to $31.77.

SodaStream was another big loser. The company said it isn’t winning over enough new customers in the U.S. and reported preliminary sales results that fell short of Wall Street’s expectations. The stock tumbled $6.05, or 21.9 percent, to $21.52.

Stocks started the day lower after a report showed that German industrial output fell 4 percent in August, far more than expected. The slump follows other disappointing economic reports and suggests Europe’s economy will not recover as strongly as hoped in the third quarter.

Fear of a slowdown in other parts of the world weighing on corporate profits was behind the sell-off Tuesday. Companies will soon start reporting earnings for the third quarter and investors will be watching out for their forecasts for the rest of the year. Aluminum giant Alcoa, typically one of the first companies to report earnings, will announce its quarterly results after the market closes Wednesday.

“Investors have become a bit more cautious about earnings and about the pace of global growth,” said Kate Warne, a principal at Edward Jones, an investment firm. “That reassessment is leading to a bit more caution on stocks.”

The IMF trimmed its outlook for global economic growth this year and next, mostly because of weaker expansions in Japan, Latin America and Europe. The IMF said Tuesday that the global economy will grow 3.3 percent this year. Many analysts say, though, that the investors have no need to panic and should focus on the signs that the U.S. economy is strengthening.