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US: Stocks fall on weak economic data

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[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks on Wednesday fell for a second day in a row after disappointing US data stoked concerns about economic growth.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 77.94 points (0.44 per cent) to 17,698.18.

The broad-based S&P 500 fell 8.20 (0.40 per cent) to 2,059.69, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index shed 20.66 (0.42 per cent) at 4,880.23.

Data showed US construction spending dipped in February, while growth in the manufacturing sector slowed for the fifth straight month in March.

US businesses increased nonfarm payrolls by just 189,000 jobs in March, payrolls firm ADP said. March was the first time since January 2014 that fewer than 200,000 jobs were added.

"The data the last couple of weeks has been relatively underwhelming and the concern is the US economy isn't growing as fast as people were expecting," said Michael James, managing director of Wedbush Securities.

Dow member McDonald's lost 1.2 per cent as Standard & Poor's changed its outlook to "negative" based on weak operating trends. The fast-food chain announced after the market closed that it was hiking hourly wages for 90,000 employees at company-owned restaurants in the United States.

GoDaddy, which sells domain names, vaulted 30.8 per cent higher in its first day of trade following an initial public offering that raised about US$460 million.

Macerich dropped 6.6 per cent after it rejected a second, sweetened hostile takeover bid from mall giant Simon Property. Simon, which announced it was ending its pursuit, rose 1.2 per cent.

Leading airlines were lower following a downgrade of major airlines by Deutsche Bank. American Airlines lost 4.4 per cent, Delta Air Lines fell 3.8 per cent and United Continental dropped 4.8 per cent.

Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury fell to 1.86 per cent from 1.93 per cent on Tuesday, while the 30-year declined to 2.46 per cent from 2.54 per cent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.

AFP