A batch of discouraging economic news deepened investors' concerns about corporate earnings, pulling major U.S. stock indexes down on Wednesday for the second day in a row.
The modest slide cut the Standard & Poor's 500 index's gain for the year to less than one-tenth of a percent. Oil prices surged above $50 a barrel on signs that U.S. production growth is slowing.
Payroll processor ADP said U.S. companies added fewer jobs last month than economists had expected, while an index of manufacturing activity declined for the fifth month in a row. In addition, the government said U.S. construction spending fell in February.
“The data show we definitely hit a...