US stocks pulled back sharply at the open as Wall Street got its first chance to react to a slowdown in hiring in the US last month.
The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 136 points to 12,923 shortly after trading began. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was off 17 at 1,381, and the Nasdaq composite lost 40 points to 3,040.
The losses were broad — only seven of stocks in the S&P 500 rose. Financial stocks fell the most. Bank of America was off 3 per cent, Citigroup 2.5 per cent.
The US added just 120,000 jobs last month, about half the pace from December through February. The slowdown interrupted the strongest stretch of job growth since the Great Recession. The government released its jobs report on Friday, but the stock market was closed.
The stock market had already started to pull back from its strongest first quarter since 1998. The Dow closed as high as 13,264 last week, then lost more than 200 points in three days.
Even before the job number came out, investors were worried that the Federal Reserve does not appear inclined to take further steps to stimulate the economy.