NEW YORK — U.S. stocks fell broadly in afternoon trading Wednesday after the release of weak U.S. economic reports and mixed company earnings. Yields on U.S government bonds rose to their highest level in two months and oil prices continued to climb. All 10 industry sectors of the Standard and Poor's 500 index were lower, led by telecommunications companies.
KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 fell 18 points, or 0.9 percent, to 2,071 as of 2:51 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 164 points, or 0.9 percent, to 17,763. The Nasdaq composite dropped 44 points, or 0.9 percent, to 4,894.
HIRING SLOWS: U.S. payroll processor ADP said hiring slowed in April to its weakest pace in nearly a year and a half, as a strong dollar dragged down overseas sales and energy companies cut back on spending. A separate government report showed U.S. worker productivity declined in the first three months of the year as labor costs jumped, reflecting a slowdown in growth.
ENERGY RISING: Oil drillers and other energy-related companies inched up 0.2 percent as benchmark U.S. crude rose 53 cents to close at $60.93 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Crude climbed above $60 a barrel for the first time this year on Tuesday following reports that a Libyan oil terminal had closed. Brent crude rose 25 cents to $67.77 a barrel in London.
RATTLE BY RATES? Despite the weak jobs number, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose again on Wednesday to 2.24 percent, its highest level since early March. "Interest rates were not a problem as recently as 1 ½ weeks ago, but have suddenly become one," said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist for Janney Montgomery Scott. "People are worried that (the Fed) could be left flat-footed" in fighting inflation, he said.
DRUG BOOST: Shares of Synageva BioPharma soared 115 percent after Alexion Pharmaceuticals said it would pay a huge premium to buy the maker of rare disease treatments in an $8.4 billion deal. Synageva has no products on the market and lost nearly $60 million in the first quarter. Its stock rose $110.43 to $206.30.
PROFIT SURGE: Video game maker Electronic Arts and Lending Club rose about 3 percent each after reporting results that beat analysts' expectations.
PROFIT DROP: News Corp., publisher of The Wall Street Journal, fell 7 percent after its results missed analysts' forecasts. Noodles & Co. plunged 19 percent after also reporting disappointing results.
YELLEN COMMENTS: Stocks briefly tumbled to deeper losses in the morning after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said stock market valuations were "quite high" in response to a question about risks to financial stability at a conference in Washington. Stocks climbed back soon after.
GREECE: A standoff in talks between Greece and its lenders is keeping investors in Europe on edge. Greece scraped together a 200 million-euro ($226 million) repayment to the International Monetary Fund on Wednesday. But the indebted country needs to make a much larger 777 million euro payment to the IMF on Tuesday and it's not clear it will be able to do that. A Greek debt default could set off a chain reaction and jeopardize its membership in Europe's joint currency.
EUROPEAN STOCKS: Britain's FTSE 100 inched up 0.1 percent, Germany's DAX rose 0.2 percent and France's CAC 40 climbed 0.2 percent.
ASIA'S DAY: South Korea's Kospi fell 1.3 percent and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 sank 2.3 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index dropped 0.4 percent and China's Shanghai Composite Index lost 1.6 percent. Japan was closed for a holiday.
CURRENCIES: The dollar weakened to 119.30 yen from 119.93 yen. The euro strengthened to $1.1369 from $1.1184.
METALS: Gold fell $2.90 to $1,190.30 an ounce, silver fell seven cents to $16.50 an ounce and copper fell a penny to $2.93 a pound.