NEW YORK - Weak reports on hiring and service industries sent the stock market sharply lower Wednesday, giving the Dow Jones industrial average its worst day in more than a month.
The Dow fell 111.66 points, or 0.8 percent, to 14,550.35, its worst decline since Feb. 25. The Standard & Poor's 500 index dropped 16.56 points, or 1.1 percent, to 1,553.69. Both indexes closed at record highs the day before.
All 10 industry groups in the S&P 500 index fell. Banks and energy stocks had the worst losses, 1.7 percent and 1.6 percent. Utilities, which investors hold when they want to play it safe, fell the least, 0.3 percent.
"The market is overdue for a correction," said Joe Saluzzi at Themis Trading.
U.S. service companies kept growing at a solid pace in March, but the expansion was less than economists were expecting. The Institute for Supply Management's index of service companies fell to 54.4 from 56 a month earlier. The report was the weakest in seven months.
Separately, payrolls processor ADP reported that U.S. employers added 158,000 jobs last month, down from February's gain of 237,000.
The slowdown in hiring was due in part to construction firms holding back on adding new employees. That sent the stocks of homebuilders lower.
The reports Wednesday came two days after news that U.S. manufacturing growth slowed unexpectedly last month.
Commodities slumped. Crude oil dropped $2.74, or 2.8 percent, to close at $94.45 a barrel - its biggest one-day drop since November - and industrial metals like copper fell. Copper dropped a nickel to $3.33 per pound.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.81 percent from 1.86 percent, the lowest level for the benchmark rate since January. The decline means investors are moving money into low-risk U.S. government debt.