U.S. stocks edged sharply lower Wednesday morning, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbling nearly 200 points, after fewer jobs were created in the private sector last month than previously expected. The economic indicator is widely used as a pre-indicator for the U.S. labor market ahead of Friday's highly anticipated jobs report.
In morning trading Wednesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) dropped 187 points, or more than 0.7 percent, to 17,593.68. The Standard & Poor's 500 (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) dipped 14.02 points, or 0.68 percent, to 2,053.87. The Nasdaq composite (INDEXSP:.INX) fell 34.17 points, or 0.64 percent, to 4,869.15.
Dow component Boeing Co. (NYSE:BA) was the largest laggard in the blue-chip index, dropping more than 1.6 percent Wednesday to $147.72 in morning trading.
GoDaddy Inc. (NYSE:GDDY), the world's largest website registrar, made its stock market debut Wednesday with an initial public offering that values the company at $5.48 billion. Shares leaped more than 30 percent after the stock opened for trading at $26.15, and rose as high as $26.84, after being priced at $20 a share.
U.S. private sector employment rose by 189,000 jobs last month, below expectations for an increase to 225,000, the ADP employment report for March showed Wednesday. Separately, U.S. manufacturing slowed further in March as the Institute of Supply Management’s manufacturing index declined to 51.5 last month, down from 52.9 in February. A reading below 50 indicates contraction. Analysts had forecast the ISM manufacturing index to fall slightly to 52.5 for the month of March, according to analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.
Meanwhile, U.S. construction spending fell 0.1 percent in February for a second straight month of decline, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. Major car manufacturers will release motor vehicle sales for March throughout the day.
Oil prices edged higher Wednesday as Iran and six world powers continue to negotiate a possible deal that could ease Western sanctions and allow more Iranian crude into an oversupplied global market. In morning trading, West Texas Intermediate crude, the benchmark for U.S. oil prices, added 0.17 percent Wednesday to $47.68 a barrel, for May 15 delivery, on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the benchmark for global oil prices, rose 0.47 percent to $55.37 a barrel, for May 15 delivery, on the London ICE Futures Exchange.
Separately, oil inventories rose by 4.8 million barrels for the week ended March 20, signaling crude stockpiles remained at a record high for a 12th consecutive week, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said Wednesday. At 471.4 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are at the highest level for this time of year in at least the last 80 years.