A weaker-than-anticipated report on private sector job growth, and a similarly downbeat report detailing sluggish growth in the services industry, applied the brake to the markets Wednesday.
The U.S private sector added 158,000 jobs in March, far fewer than an expected 200,000 figure, according to a report from ADP and Moody’s Analytics. Meanwhile, the Institute for Supply Management’s monthly report on growth in the service sector came in at 54.4 for March, marking the slowest growth rate in seven months.
The result was a broad drop in all major market indices, led by the Nasdaq, which fell 1.11% to close at 3218.60. The S&P 500 dropped 1.05% to close at 1553.69, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average saw losses in 90% of its components, finishing down 0.76% at 14550.35.
NII Holdings (NASDAQ:NIHD), which operates as an international holding company for Sprint‘s (NYSE:S) Nextel operations, saw its shares soar over 21% after a report came out indicating the company would sell its Peruvian operation to a Chilean telecommunications company.
Monsanto (NYSE:MON) reported earnings that topped expectations thanks to strong sales of its genetically enhanced seeds, and the company also gave robust guidance for 2013, sending shares up fractionally on the day. Meanwhile, foods company ConAgra (NYSE:CAG) went the other way, dropping nearly 2% after announcing profits slumped 57% on costs associated with its purchase of Ralcorp Holdings, which closed in January.
Finally, Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) stalled Wednesday, falling around 7% as investors shrugged at the company’s “big announcement” — a new financing option for its vehicles, allowing customers to buy without needing a big down payment.
- Fifth & Pacific (NYSE:FNP): Up 7.6% ($1.42) to $20.03.
- Vringo (AMEX:VRNG): Up 7.3% (23 cents) to $3.30.
- Facebook (NASDAQ:FB): Up 3.3% (83 cents) to $26.25.
- Hovnanian (NYSE:HOV): Down 6.4% (36 cents) to $5.23.
- Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (NASDAQ:GMCR): Down 6% ($3.47) to $54.14.
- Barrick Gold (NYSE:ABX): Down 5.6% ($1.59) to $26.70.
Marc Bastow is an Assistant Editor at InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing he does not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.