* S&P 500, Nasdaq coming off 9th quarterly rise
* ADP data misses expectations, raising payroll concerns
* Indexes down: Dow 0.4 pct, S&P 0.3 pct, Nasdaq 0.3 pct (Updates to market open)
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, April 1 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks dipped at the open on Wednesday as a weaker-than-expected report on private sector employment raised concerns that Friday’s impending jobs report could also point to worsening conditions in the labor market.
The ADP National Employment Report showed that U.S. private employers added 189,000 jobs last month, well below economists’ expectations for 225,000 jobs. The report was the weakest since January 2014.
The private employment reading precedes Friday’s jobs data, the most widely watched indicator of the week, though that arrives on Good Friday when the stock market will be closed. The inability of market participants to trade off that report could generate some volatility going into the holiday.
“The correlation between ADP and the payroll report isn’t terribly strong, but given the size of the miss, this could cause investors to pause and reassess the landscape,” said David Lebovitz, global market strategist for J.P. Morgan Asset Management in New York.
Data due through the week will be studied for indications on whether economic growth is brisk enough to spur the U.S. Federal Reserve to begin raising interest rates sooner than expected.
The Fed has said that a rate hike, which will raise borrowing costs and possibly curb spending, is likely when it deems the economy strong enough to withstand the impact of such a move. Many analysts believe the first hike will come in September.
“Markets have been trading sideways, with the S&P having difficulty breaking above 2,100, but bad news could become good news if that means the Fed will hold off on raising rates a bit longer,” Lebovitz said.
Major indexes are coming off a weak month in March but the S&P and Nasdaq are coming off modest first-quarter advances; the Nasdaq’s nine-quarter streak of gains was the longest in its history. The S&P 500 is down 2.3 percent from its March 2 record close.
In company news, Sears Holdings Corp rose 9.4 percent to $45.26 after it said it would raise more than $2.5 billion by selling stores to a real estate investment trust it is setting up, in the latest move to shore up its finances.
Macerich Co fell 5 percent to $80.11 after Simon Property Group withdrew its offer to buy the company. Shares of Simon dipped 0.2 percent to $195.06.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 65.79 points, or 0.37 percent, to 17,710.33, the S&P 500 lost 7.1 points, or 0.34 percent, to 2,060.79 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 14.02 points, or 0.29 percent, to 4,886.87.
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,498 to 1,220, for a 1.23-to-1 ratio on the downside; on the Nasdaq, 1,415 issues fell and 780 advanced for a 1.81-to-1 ratio favoring decliners.
The benchmark S&P 500 index was posting no new 52-week highs and 2 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite was recording 18 new highs and 8 new lows. (Editing by Bernadette Baum)