U.S. stocks declined for a second day on Wednesday, weighed down by tepid data on private sector U.S. jobs and weaker-than-expected results from companies including Priceline.
The ADP private sector employment report showed hiring in April fell to its lowest levels in three years. The report acts as a precursor to the more comprehensive government nonfarm payrolls data, which is expected on Friday.
Shares of Priceline (PCLN.O) fell 9.5 percent to $1,225.54, the biggest drag on the S&P and the Nasdaq. The online travel services company's forecast fell short of expectations.
The S&P 500 is still up slightly for the year so far after its recent rally back from sharp losses at the start of the year.
"The market is absorbing the move from the February bottom. That would make sense to me at this point, given the seasonality and that the market came close to its all-time high. I'm seeing a lot of comments on 'sell in May and go away,'" said Bruce Zaro, chief technical strategist, Bolton Global Asset Management in Boston.
'Sell in May and go away' is a Wall Street adage that refers to stocks being less likely to make big gains in the summer months.
At 3:33 p.m., the Dow Jones industrial average .DJI was down 101.67 points, or 0.57 percent, to 17,649.24, the S&P 500 .SPX had lost 12.42 points, or 0.6 percent, to 2,050.95 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC had dropped 34.91 points, or 0.73 percent, to 4,728.31.
According to a Reuters survey of economists, nonfarm payrolls likely rose by 202,000 jobs in April after rising 215,000 in March. The unemployment rate is forecast holding steady at 5 percent.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,838 to 1,167, for a 1.57-to-1 ratio on the downside; on the Nasdaq, 1,840 issues fell and 930 advanced for a 1.98-to-1 ratio favoring decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 18 new 52-week highs and 6 new lows; the Nasdaq recorded 29 new highs and 61 new lows.
(Additional reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Nick Zieminski)
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Updated Date: May 05, 2016 01:45 AM