Markets closed down today:
▼ Dow: -0.08 percent
▲ Nasdaq: +0.31 percent
▼ S&P: -0.25 percent
▼ Gold: up -0.45 percent to $1,652.44 an ounce
▼ Silver: up -0.93 percent to settle at $30.56 an ounce
▼ Oil: -0.65 percent
Markets closed down because:
When hiring slumps, so do stock prices.
That was at least the message investors sent Wednesday, when they homed in on troubling reports about jobs in the U.S. and Europe.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell as much as 87 points after a company that tracks payrolls said the U.S. added far fewer jobs in April than in March. The Dow ended the day down 10.75 points, at 13,268.57.
It was a turn from the day before, when investors chose to focus on a couple of positive reports and sent the Dow up 66 points to its highest close in more than four years.
While the market's day-to-day fluctuations may be difficult to predict, some investors say they're certain that stocks will generally climb for the rest of the year. As justification, they cite strong first-quarter earnings.
The Standard & Poor's 500 fell 3.51 points to 1,402.31. The Nasdaq composite index was the outlier. It fell throughout the morning, then finished up 9.41 points at 3,059.85.
The report on private sector hiring weighed on investors, who see jobs as the key ingredient to an economic recovery.
The payroll processor, ADP, said U.S. businesses added 119,000 jobs in April, down from 201,000 in March. The government releases its monthly figures, which include the public sector, on Friday. The two reports can vary sharply.
Another jobs report from Europe underscored the gravity of the continuing debt crisis there. The 17 countries that use the euro reported that unemployment rose to 10.9 percent in March, the highest since the euro launched in 1999.
Markets fell across most of Europe, including Germany and Greece.
In U.S. stocks, one of the biggest losses came at Chesapeake Energy, which plunged 15 percent. The company had reported a first-quarter loss after the market closed Tuesday. It is also under fire for a massive pay package to CEO Aubrey McClendon and questions about his taking out big loans from companies that do business with Chesapeake. This week, the company stripped McClendon of his role as board chairman.
In an earnings call Wednesday, McClendon said he was "deeply sorry for all the distractions" but also said there was "a great deal of misinformation" circulating about himself and the company.
The Associated Press contributed to the report.