04/05/2013 04:19 EDT | Updated 06/05/2013 05:12 EDT

Stocks end lower on Wall Street after US reports an unexpected slowdown in hiring last month

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Stocks are closing lower on Wall Street after the U.S. government reported a sharp slowdown in hiring last month.

The Labor Department said hiring was the weakest in nine months.

The Dow Jones industrial average ended down 40 points at 14,565, a loss of 0.3 per cent. It had been down as much as 171 points in the early going. The Dow ended flat for the week.

The Standard & Poor's 500 fell six points, or 0.4 per cent, to 1,553. The Nasdaq fell 21 points, or 0.7 per cent, to 3,203.

The S&P had it worst week this year, and the Dow Jones Transportation Average had its worst week since September.

Slightly more stocks fell than rose on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume was thinner than average at 3.4 billion shares.