US stocks tumble on weak jobs data

NEW YORK (AFP) - Wall Street stocks tumbled for the second day in a row on Wednesday as data showing weak US private-sector hiring raised worries about Friday's jobs report for April.

US companies added a modest 156,000 jobs in April, about 40,000 less than analysts had expected, and down from 194,000 in March, said payrolls group ADP.

The data was released two days before the Department of Labour's April jobs report.

"You see people take risk exposure off to prepare themselves for a possible worst-case scenario on Friday," said Michael James managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities.

Still, some analysts noted that the ADP report is historically a poor indicator of what comes out in the official report.

At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 17,651.95, down 0.6 per cent.

The broad-based S&P 500 fell 0.6 per cent to 2,051.17, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 0.8 per cent to 4,725.64.