The floor of the New York Stock Exchange in Manhattan....

The floor of the New York Stock Exchange in Manhattan. (March 15, 2012) Credit: Getty Images

Stocks dropped Tuesday after Federal Reserve policymakers said they were worried about a slowdown in hiring and appeared to resist buying more bonds to help the economy.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell as much as 133 points after the Fed released the minutes of the March meeting of its Open Market Committee, which sets interest rates and monetary policy. Before the release the Dow had been down 45 points.

It bounced up some by the end of the session to a decline 64.94 points, closing at at 13,199.55. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 5.66 points to 1,413.38.

The Nasdaq composite index dropped 6.13 to 3,113.57. It was the fifth loss for the Nasdaq in the previous six trading sessions, but the index remains up almost 20 percent for the year, compared with 12 percent for the S&P.

Utility stocks barely rose. The other nine industry groups that make up the S&P 500 fell, led by energy stocks, which declined about 1 percent as a group.

The Fed minutes showed that policymakers fear hiring could slow if economic growth doesn't improve. The country added an average of 245,000 jobs per month from December through February, the strongest three months since the Great Recession. -- AP

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