NEW YORK — Stocks fell as a partial U.S. government shutdown dragged into a third day.
President Barack Obama and Congressional leaders spoke late Wednesday but the meeting appeared only to harden the stances of Democrats and Republicans.
Republicans in the House of Representatives, pushed by a core of tea party conservatives, are insisting that Obama accept changes to the health care law he pushed through three years ago. Obama refuses to consider any deal linking the health care law to routine legislation needed to extend government funding.
A report on the U.S. service sector also disappointed investors.
Growth at U.S. service companies slowed in September from an eight-year high in August as sales fell sharply, new orders dipped and hiring weakened, according to The Institute of Supply Management.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 125 points, or 0.8 percent, to 15,008 in the first hour of trading. The Standard & Poor's 500 index dropped 15 points, or 0.9 percent, to 1,678. The Nasdaq composite fell 34 points, or 0.9 percent, to 3,781.
In government bond trading, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.61 percent from 2.62 percent Wednesday.
In commodities trading the price of oil fell 48 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $103.63 a barrel. Gold dropped $7, or 0.5 percent, to $1,313.70 an ounce.
The dollar fell against the euro and the Japanese yen. The dollar index, which measures the strength of the U.S. currency against a group of currencies, has declined for five straight days.
Among stocks making big moves;
— Tesla Motors fell $10.6, or 6 percent, to $170.77 after the electric car company had a rare downgrade from a financial analyst and on news of a fire involving one of its cars.
— HCP fell $1.50, or 3.5 percent, to $40.30 after the real estate investment trust fired James F. Flaherty as the company's chairman and CEO.