The latest labor market data pointed to slowing economic growth due to rapid interest rate hikes.

Risk-wary investors are looking forward to monthly jobs data for a clearer picture of the economy.

Initial jobless claims fell to a seasonally adjusted 228,000 for the week ended 01 April 2023.

The prior week's data was revised to show 48,000 more applications were received.

The IT sector was the biggest sectoral loser on the S&P 500.

Major technology and growth stocks such as Apple Inc, Tesla Inc, and Nvidia Corp fell between 0.9% and 2.1% in early trading.

Investors piled into defensive stocks such as healthcare and utilities.

A string of recent reports have suggested slowing labor demand and raised hopes of a pause in the Federal Reserve’s market-punishing rate hikes.