U.S. stocks retreated Wednesday after a disappointing jobs report had some traders wondering if the run-up since November has gone too far.
Payroll firm Automatic Data Processing said the private sector added 135,000 jobs in May, fewer than the first quarter average of 156,000 new jobs per month.
Confidence had been shaky on Wall Street since late May, when Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said at a hearing on Capitol Hill the central bank could pull back sooner than expected on an $85 billion per month asset purchasing program.
The day before the chairman's remarks, the Dow Jones industrial average hit a record closing high for the 22cnd time in 2013. Since the remark, the DJIA has dropped in six sessions out of the past 10.
On Wednesday, the Dow gave up 216.95 points or 1.43 percent to 14,960.59. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 22.48 points, 1.38 percent, to 1,608.90. The Nasdaq composite index dropped 43.78 points or 1.27 percent to 3,401.48.
On the New York Stock Exchange, 584 stocks advanced and 2,509 declined on volume of 3.6 billion shares traded.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index shed 3.83 percent of 518.89 points to 13,014.87.
In Britain, the FTSE 100 lost 2.12 percent or 139.27 points to 6,419.31.
The 10-year treasury note rose 17/32 to yield 2.094 percent.
Crude oil prices added 43 cents to reach 93.74 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
NYMEX gold gained $4.70 to reach $1,401.90 per troy ounce.
On currency markets, the euro rose to $1.3092 from Tuesday's $1.3081. Against the yen, the dollar was lower 99.17 yen from 100.03 yen.