* Markets focus on weak jobs data ahead of earnings
* Chinese PPI decline raises worries of slowing demand
* AOL shares soar on Microsoft patents deal
* Indexes off: Dow 1.1 pct, S&P 1.3 pct, Nasdaq 1.4 pct
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, April 9 Major U.S. stock indexes fell
more than 1 percent in early trading on Monday, weighed by
growth-related sectors, after last week's much
weaker-than-expected report on March U.S. job creation.
The S&P 500, down four sessions running, hit a more than
three-week low but was expected to hold above its 50-day
average, now near 1,371. The Dow industrials dipped below its
50-day average for the first time since Dec. 20.
Technical indicators in major indexes were softening last
week and the jobs report was an excuse to take the S&P near
support levels, according to Michael Sheldon, chief market
strategist at RDM Financial in Westport, Connecticut.
"One percent down is not grim," he said. "It's a very
U.S. non-farm payrolls grew by 120,000 last month, far below
the forecast gain of 203,000 jobs. The unemployment rate dipped
to 8.2 percent, down from 8.3 percent in February.
The report casts doubt over the ability of the United States
to help boost the global economy as Europe's debt crisis
resurfaces and worries remain whether China's economy will avoid
a hard landing.
Surprisingly soft producer prices data in China sparked
concerns of waning demand, reinforcing expectations that a
cooling economy has eclipsed inflation as the Chinese
government's biggest near-term worry.
A lack of major U.S. economic data on Monday will keep
investors focused on Friday's payrolls report, which came in on
an equity market holiday.
Bank shares led declines on the S&P 500, along side the
industrials sector. The S&P financial sector index fell
2 percent while industrials lost 1.6 percent.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 138.46 points,
or 1.06 percent, to 12,921.68. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
dropped 17.77 points, or 1.27 percent, to 1,380.31. The
Nasdaq Composite lost 43.42 points, or 1.41 percent, to
The S&P and Dow fell for a fourth straight session, while
the Nasdaq was down for the third day in four.
U.S. equities have rallied sharply in recent months, gaining
nearly 30 percent since early October to push the S&P 500 near
four-year highs. The market has stalled in the last few weeks as
investors question the swiftness of the gains and whether
economic data is strong enough to warrant higher stock prices.
Earnings will come to the fore this week, with bellwethers
Google Inc and JPMorgan Chase & Co expected to
report results. Alcoa will on Tuesday be the first Dow
component to report.
AOL shares jumped 43.5 percent to $26.44 after the
Internet company said it would sell over 800 of its patents and
related applications to Microsoft, and grant Microsoft
a non-exclusive license to patents it retains for slightly over
$1 billion in cash.
Molina Healthcare Inc shares plunged 24.5 percent to
$24.43 after the health insurer said its Medicaid contract in
Ohio will not be renewed.