Stocks fell Monday, dragging the Standard & Poor's 500 index lower following its worst week of 2012, after employers added fewer jobs than forecast in March.
The S&P 500 slumped 15.88 points to 1382.20, after losing 0.7% last week. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 130.55 points to 12,929.59. And the Nasdaq composite index skidded 33.42 points to 3047.08. Stock markets were closed on Good Friday, when the employment report was released.
"At the moment, the one big news story that people have to focus on is the jobs number, so there's a focus on the disappointment there," says John Carey at Pioneer Investments. "The economy does continue to grow, but slowly, and I think that's been the source of frustration for a lot of investors, that we haven't had the big forward movement in the economy like we have in the past."
Stocks slipped last week after the Federal Reserve signaled it will refrain from further monetary stimulus and as concern about Europe intensified.
The U.S. Labor Department said that employers added 120,000 jobs, the fewest in five months and less than the median economist forecast of 205,000. The amount had exceeded 200,000 for three straight months.
"This is a real shock," says Donald Selkin, chief market strategist at National Securities. "Everybody is so hung up on the 200,000 increase."
Highlights: Caterpillar, the world's largest maker of construction and mining equipment, retreated $2.30 to $103.57, while General Electric, maker of jet engines and power-generation equipment, fell 29 cents to $19.20. Industrial stocks fell 1.6%, the biggest fall as a group in the S&P 500.
Shutterfly sank $1.26 to $28.21. The operator of a website that offers photo-related products dropped after Facebook agreed to buy the Instagram photo-sharing application for about $1 billion.
AOL soared $7.98, adding 43% to $26.40. The Internet company, under shareholder pressure to make strategic changes as revenue declines, agreed to sell and license more than 800 patents to Microsoft in a deal worth $1.06 billion. Microsoft fell 42 cents to $31.10.
Apple rose $2.55, or 0.4%, to $636.23. The world's most valuable company erased an earlier decline of as much as 1.3%. The stock was cut to neutral from buy by BTIG, which said investors should "take a breather" on expected strength this quarter.
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