North American stocks slumped at the start of trading on Wednesday after a report on U.S. private sector payrolls disappointed expectations.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 52 points or 0.4 per cent, to 13,228. The broader S&P 500 fell 7 points or 0.5 per cent, to 1398. In Canada, the S&P/TSX composite index fell 111 points or 0.9 per cent, to 12,222.
The declines follow the ADP report on private sector employment for April, which showed a gain of 119,000 jobs, well below the consensus expectation of 170,000 new jobs. Now, economists are lowering their expectations for the upcoming official payrolls report from the Labor Department, due to be released on Friday.
U.S. financials were among the hardest hit: Bank of America Corp. fell 1.4 per cent and JPMorgan Chase & Co. fell 1.6 per cent. Alcoa Inc. fell 1.3 per cent and General Electric Co. fell 1.2 per cent.
Among Canadian stocks, Suncor Energy Inc. fell 1.5 per cent and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. fell 1.6 per cent. Suncor reported quarterly earnings of $1.5-billion (U.S.) or 93 cents a share on Tuesday evening, up from 65 cents a share last year.
Meanwhile, Loblaw Cos. Ltd. fell 0.9 per cent after reporting that its quarterly earnings fell 22 per cent over last year, to $239-million (Canadian) or 45 cents a share.