US equity markets fell on Thursday ahead of keenly anticipated employment data that will be scrutinised for its implications on US monetary policy.
Investors are looking ahead to Friday's US jobs report, expected to show the world's biggest economy added 250,000 positions in September and that unemployment held steady at 3.7 percent.
Stocks rallied on the first two days of this week due to rising hopes the US Federal Reserve might moderate its inflation-fighting stance in light of weakening economic data.
But equity market drops the last two days have suggested investors are rethinking, as Fed officials continue to stress the need for more action. A better-than-expected jobs report could send stocks lower due to expectations for more aggressive interest rate hikes.
"You'd have to be very courageous to make a big bet today before the jobs data," said Gregori Volokhine of Meeschaert Financial Services. "Today people are playing the waiting game."
The Dow Jones industrial Average dropped 1.2 percent to finish the day at 29,926.
The S&P 500 shed 1.0 percent to 3,744, while the Nasdaq Composite Index lost 0.7 percent to close at 11,073.
In a speech ahead of the IMF's annual meetings next week, IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva urged policymakers to address the most immediate challenges" – including rampant inflation.
But she warned the process will be painful – and acknowledged that if central banks move too aggressively to tamp down price pressures, it could trigger a "prolonged" economic downturn.
Among individual companies, Twitter fell 3.4 percent after a legal filing from Elon Musk asking a US judge to suspend Twitter's lawsuit over their troubled takeover negotiations after the embattled social media company baulked at the Tesla's chief's demand to freeze the litigation. (AFP)