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Stocks slide on weak growth reports

FILE - In this  March 25 2013 file phoSpecialist Geoffrey Friedman works floor New York Stock Exchange Monday. Wall

FILE - In this , March 25, 2013, file photo, Specialist Geoffrey Friedman works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Monday. Wall Street was poised for a steady opening Wednesday April 3, 2013. How U.S. shares actually perform could well hinge on the monthly private payrolls report from ADP. Another increase of about 200,000 is anticipated. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

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Updated: April 3, 2013 3:21PM



Stocks are closing broadly lower following weak reports on the U.S. economy. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 111 points, its worst drop in more than a month.

The Dow ended at 14,550 Wednesday, a decline of 0.8 percent.

Other indexes fell more. The Standard & Poor’s 500 fell 1 percent, or 16 points, to close at 1,553. The Dow and S&P closed at record highs the day before.

The Nasdaq lost 1.1 percent, or 36 points, to 3,218.

Small company stocks had the worst declines. The Russell 2000 fell 1.7 percent, or 15 points, to 918.

Hiring and service industry growth weakened last month.

U.S. service companies kept growing at a solid pace in March, but the expansion was less than economists were expecting. The Institute for Supply Management’s index of service companies fell to 54.4 in March from 56 a month earlier. The report was the weakest in seven months and fell short of what analysts were expecting.

Separately, payrolls processor ADP reported that U.S. employers added 158,000 jobs last month, down from February’s gain of 237,000, as construction firms held off on hiring. The ADP report is often seen as a preview for the government’s broader survey on employment, which is due out Friday.

The stock market has gotten off to a strong start in 2013. The Dow rose 11.3 percent in the first three months of the year thanks to a recovery in housing and signs that the job market is improving. Strong company earnings and economic stimulus from the Federal Reserve have also sent the market higher.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which moves inversely to its price, fell from 1.86 percent to 1.83 percent.

Three stocks fell for every one that rose on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume was heavier than usual, 4 billion shares.



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