U.S. stocks fell hard Monday after a surprisingly weak jobs report on Friday left investors hunting for safety rather than big returns.
All three major U.S. equity indexes fell more than 1 percent shortly after trading began. The government said Friday that employers hired 120,000 people in March, far fewer than an increase of 203,000 analysts expected and the smallest gain since October.
Further, the Labor Department reported that the U.S. now has 88 million people who are out of the labor force, the average workweek decreased and average hourly earnings fell. U.S. stock futures responded by trading down during the brief time they were open Friday morning.
Most European markets were closed Monday for the Easter holiday, but Asian exchanges were broadly lower, though not by as much as U.S. stocks.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.14 percent, or 149.47, to 12,910.67, the Nasdaq Composite tumbled 1.52 percent, or 46.85, to 3,033.65 and the S&P 500 dropped 1.36 percent, or 19.07, to 1,379.01.