NEW YORK - Wall Street stocks dropped in early trade Wednesday on mixed economic data as the market looked ahead to Friday's US jobs report for September.
About 40 minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at 16,889.51, down 153.39 points (0.90 per cent).
The broad-based S&P 500 fell 16.77 (0.85 per cent) to 1,955.52, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index declined 50.30 (1.12 per cent) to 4,443.09.
US private-sector employment increased by 213,000 in September from August, according to payroll company ADP. The job gains topped analysts' consensus estimate of 202,000.
But the Commerce Department reported that construction spending in August fell 0.8 per cent. Analysts had projected spending would rise by 0.4 per cent.
The data come ahead of Friday's closely watched September jobs market report, a key gauge of the health of the US economy.
Tekmira Pharmaceuticals, which is developing treatment for the Ebola virus, jumped 15.1 per cent following news of the first confirmed case of the deadly disease in the US.
Airline stocks were lower in a decline that some observers attributed to the Ebola news. Delta Air Lines fell 4.0 per cent, United Airlines lost 4.4 per cent and American Airlines dropped 3.3 per cent.
Foodmaker General Mills fell 0.9 per cent as it disclosed plans to trim 700-800 jobs, mostly in the US. The company expects restructuring charges of $135-$160 million.
The New York Times Company rose 3.7 per cent as it announced plans to eliminate 100 newsroom jobs to cut costs, a reduction representing around 7.5 per cent of the newsroom staff.
Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury fell to 2.44 per cent from 2.51 per cent Tuesday, while the 30-year declined to 3.15 per cent from 3.21 per cent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.