NEW YORK — When hiring slumps, so do stock prices.
At least that was the message investors sent Wednesday, when they ignored flashes of positive news about the economy and instead homed in on troubling reports about jobs in the U.S. and Europe.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell as much as 87 points after a company that tracks payrolls said the United States added far fewer jobs in April than in March. The Dow ended the day down 10.75 points, at 13,268.57.
It was a turn from the day before, when investors chose to focus on a couple of positive reports on U.S. manufacturing and sent the Dow up 66 points to its highest close in more than four years.
The Standard & Poor's 500 fell 3.51 points to 1,402.31. The Nasdaq composite index finished up 9.41 points at 3,059.85.
The payroll processor, ADP, said U.S. businesses added 119,000 jobs in April, down from 201,000 in March. The government releases its monthly figures, which include the public sector, on Friday. The two reports can vary sharply.
Another jobs report from Europe underscored the gravity of the continuing debt crisis there. The 17 countries that use the euro reported that unemployment rose to 10.9 percent in March, the highest since the euro launched in 1999.
Markets fell across most of Europe, including Germany and Greece.
There was also good news out of Europe, even if it didn't seem to sway investors. Standard & Poor's lifted Greece's credit rating out of default, noting how the country had recently secured a massive write-down on its debt to private investors.
Germany also reported that the number of people seeking work in April slipped below 3 million, a psychologically important barrier that it hasn't broken in that month for two decades.
In U.S. stocks, one of the biggest losses came at Chesapeake Energy, which plunged 15 percent. The company had reported a first-quarter loss after the market closed Tuesday. It is also under fire for a massive pay package to CEO Aubrey McClendon and questions about his taking out big loans from companies that do business with Chesapeake. This week, the company stripped McClendon of his role as board chairman.
In an earnings call Wednesday, McClendon said he was "deeply sorry for all the distractions" but also said there was "a great deal of misinformation" circulating about himself and the company.