* 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 1.1 pct
By Angela Moon
NEW YORK, April 9 U.S. stocks fell more than 1
percent on Monday after a much weaker-than-expected report on
March U.S. job creation last week.
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.
"Obviously we had four good months and then this one weak
month so we can't call this a trend. I think this would be a
one-day reaction," said Ryan Detrick, senior strategist at
Schaeffer's Investment Research in Cincinanati, Ohio. "Now
people are thinking, 'so the payrolls were weak, but let's see
how earnings (season) will turn out'".
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 cast doubts on 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.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 143.76
points, or 1.10 percent, at 12,916.38. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index was down 17.42 points, or 1.25 percent, at
1,380.66. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 33.63
points, or 1.09 percent, at 3,046.87.
Following last week's modest losses, key near-term support
levels for the S&P 500 this week were 1375-1380 which were the
levels of resistance for the index in late-February, said Scott
Davies, an analyst at Brown Brothers Harriman & Co in New York.
Bank shares led declines on the S&P 500, alongside the
industrials sector. The S&P financial sector index fell
2.1 percent while industrials lost 1.8 percent.
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 42.5 percent to $26.25 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 percent to
$26.55 after the health insurer said its Medicaid contract in
Ohio will not be renewed.