Stocks slid on Thursday after payrolls data showed much worse-than-expected job losses for June, a sign that hopes for a quick economy recovery may be premature.
U.S. employers cut 467,000 jobs in June, far more than the 363,000 forecast by a Reuters survey. The unemployment rate rose to 9.5 percent, the highest since August 1983, the government said on Thursday, as the labor market continues to struggle.
Stock losses were felt most heavily in the S&P 500's consumer discretionary sector<.GSPD>, which fell 3.3 percent. Hotelier Marriott International
The market has been on a high for the last few months, based on the belief that some of the stimulus seems to be working, said Gordon Fowler, Jr, chief investment officer of the Glenmede Trust Company in Philadelphia. But they now have reason to be disappointed as it doesn't appear that the stimulus has translated into new jobs.
If the economy were a car, I would say the brakes work, but it's not clear that the accelerator does.
Volume was light with Wall Street's trading desks thinly staffed ahead of the three-day U.S. Independence Day weekend.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> dropped 176.77 points, or 2.08 percent, to 8,327.29. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> fell 21.39 points, or 2.32 percent, to 901.94. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> slid 44.65 points, or 2.42 percent, to 1,801.07.
Commodity prices slipped and U.S. Treasury debt prices edged higher after the jobs data. Crude oil futures fell $2.51, or 3.6 percent, to $66.80 a barrel, helped by a stronger U.S. dollar.
U.S. oil producer Exxon Mobil Corp
NRG Energy Inc
Among Dow components, healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson
Elan's U.S.-traded shares
In other economic news, a report showed U.S. factory orders were better than expected in May, but this was largely ignored as the stock market's broad sell-off continued through midday.
(Editing by Jan Paschal)