Markets Stumble on Weak Services and Hiring Data

Investors soured on news about weakness in the services sector as oil prices dropped on increased stockpiles. The Dow tumbled 111 points to close at 14,550. Nasdaq joined the sell-off by giving up 36 points to finish the session at 3218.

On the upside

Sucampo Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: SCMP) was upgraded by Cantor Fitzgerald. The company makes drugs that treat chronic constipation and bowel ailments.

Investors were pleased with a Wall Street Journal report that Fifth & Pacific Cos (NYSE: FNP) is considering the sale of Lucky Brand and Juicy Couture brands.

Shares of Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) bucked the sell-off on optimism that the company may be planning the simultaneous launch of low-cost phones and larger screen iPhones as well as the Apple iTV.

On the downside

ConAgra Foods (NYSE: CAG) posted 3rd quarter earnings that missed expectations even though it reaffirmed full-year guidance.

Consumer Portfolio Services (Nasdaq: CPSS) sold $185 million in notes secured by automobile financing receivables.

After hitting a 52-week high yesterday, shares of Tenet Healthcare (NYSE: THC) sold off on heavy volume. Some investors worried that government reimbursement policies may favor insurers over hospital operators.

In the broad market, declining issues outpaced advancers by a margin of more than 3 to 1 on both the NYSE and Nasdaq. The broader S&P 500 index fell 16 points to close at 1553.

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