* Fewer-than-expected private sector jobs added in Sept:
* Consumer staples lead decliners, all 10 sectors lower
* Monsanto's stock drops after fourth-quarter loss, lower
* Blackberry shares hit 11-month low after restructuring
* Indexes down: Dow 0.4 pct, S&P 0.2 pct, Nasdaq 0.02 pct
By Julia Edwards
NEW YORK, Oct 2 U.S. stocks fell on Wednesday,
the second day of a partial U.S. government shutdown, as
congressional leaders and President Barack Obama planned to meet
in the White House to discuss the budget impasse and raising the
U.S. debt limit.
All ten S&P 500 sectors were lower, with consumer staples
stocks the weakest, off 0.73 percent. Dow component
Coca-Cola was one of the sector's worst performers,
falling 1.3 percent to $37.47.
The federal government, except for essential services, came
to a halt on Tuesday after the Senate blocked a
Republican-backed House bill that would have funded the
government but only if Obamacare were delayed, an action Obama
Republican House Speaker John Boehner's office said the
meeting, scheduled for 5:30 p.m. (2130 GMT) Wednesday, would be
the start of serious talks to bridge differences that led to
government agencies shutting down.
Despite a market bounce-back on Tuesday, the political
wrangling in Washington has raised investor concerns that the
shutdown could be prolonged and sap Americans' confidence as
well as hurt economic growth.
"We're looking at a position where people don't necessarily
want to have risk on right now," said Joseph Greco, managing
director at Meridian Equity Partners in New York.
Payrolls processor ADP said U.S. private employers added
166,000 jobs in September, below expectations for 180,000 jobs.
Investors were looking to this report for more guidance because
Friday's broader, government payrolls report will be delayed if
no deal on the budget is reached by then.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 67.49
points, or 0.44 percent, at 15,124.21. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index was down 2.81 points, or 0.17 percent, at 1,692.19.
The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 0.58 points, or 0.02
percent, at 3,817.40.
Monsanto Co reported a fourth-quarter loss that was
wider than expected, and offered a lower outlook for 2014 even
as it said it was positioned for strong growth next year. Shares
fell 2.7 percent to $102.21.
BlackBerry Ltd fell to an 11-month low
after a report that the smartphone manufacturer expects to take
$400 million in pre-tax charges related to cost-cutting,
multiplying its previous estimate by 4. BlackBerry shares were
down 4 percent to $7.85.
Despite the recent declines, buyers have come in as the S&P
approached its 50-day moving average of 1,679.78. The moving
average represents a measure of the near-term trend in the
market and often investors will buy in clusters at such levels.
The shutdown's impact on economic growth and market
volatility will likely increase the longer it continues.
The CBOE Volatility index gaining more than 25
percent over the past two weeks. On Wednesday the VIX was up 5
percent to 16.25, still considered a low level.