Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock...

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange last week. (April 2, 2012) Credit: AP

Investors had a three-day weekend to brood over disappointing job growth in March. When they got back to work Monday and delivered their verdict, it wasn't good.

Stocks closed sharply lower, sending the Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard & Poor's 500 index to only their second four-day losing streak this year.

The Dow finished down 130.55 points at 12,929.59, its first close below 13,000 since March 12. The S&P ended the day off 15.88 points at 1,382.20. The Nasdaq composite closed down 33.42 at 3,047.08.

The Dow and S&P had four consecutive trading days of declines at the end of January, but the losses then were smaller. The Dow lost 124 points over that stretch. It has lost about 330 this time.

Stocks had their best first quarter since 1998 but have stumbled in April. Last week the Federal Reserve suggested that it is disinclined to take further steps to help the economy, and the European debt crisis flared in Spain.

Then on Friday, with the stock market closed for Good Friday, the government said the country added just 120,000 jobs in March, half the pace from December through February.

Investors sold stocks broadly, with financial stocks the worst performers.

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