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US stocks retreat on weak economic data

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on April 2, 2013, in New York City
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange at the end of the trading day on April 2, 2013, in New York City. US stocks dropped Wednesday after weak economic indicators halted the market's upward momentum of recent weeks.

US stocks dropped Wednesday after weak economic indicators halted the market's upward momentum of recent weeks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank 111.66 (0.76 percent) to 14,550.35.

The broad-based S&P 500 drooped 16.56 (1.05 percent) to 1,553.69, while the Nasdaq Composite Index gave up 36.26 (1.11 percent) at 3,218.60.

The losses came one day after both the Dow and the S&P 500 recorded new all-time closing records.

Alan Skrainka of Cornerstone Wealth Management said the disappointing economic reports -- on private-sector jobs growth and service-sector activity -- provided an occasion for the market to pause after reaching recent peaks.

"The market is looking for any signs to pull back from such a strong rally over the past several weeks," Skrainka said. "I don't think that one day makes a trend. It is certainly natural to see a pullback of this magnitude."

Banks were among the hardest-hit sectors. Bank of America dropped 2.8 percent, JPMorgan Chase fell 2.4 percent and Goldman Sachs retreated 2.2 percent.

Barrick Gold Corp. fell 5.6 percent in the wake of lower gold prices.

Ares Capital, a specialty finance company, dropped 3.4 percent after announcing plans for a public offering of 16.7 million shares of its common stock.

Electronic payments company Global Payments sank 9.2 percent after missing earnings expectations by 2 cents per share and revenues by 1.6 million.

Zynga jumped 15 percent after launching its first online gambling program in Britain.

Agricultural products company Monsanto rose 0.9 percent after reporting a 22 percent increase in year-over-year earnings and raising its profit guidance.

Conns, an electronics retailer, added 8.1 percent after reporting record earnings that included a 7 percent rise in same-store sales.

Bond prices jumped. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.81 percent from 1.86 percent late Tuesday, while the 30-year yield dropped to 3.06 percent from 3.10 percent. Bond prices move inversely to yields.

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