Here are some highlights of the day's business news:
Stocks ended in the red Wednesday, as disappointing reports on jobs and the services sector weighed on investors.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 84 points, or 0.6%. Earlier in the session, the blue-chip index tumbled more than 130 points. The S&P 500 shed 9 points, or 0.7%; and the Nasdaq slid 13 points, or 0.5%.
Caterpillar and General Electric were the biggest drags on the Dow. Shares of First Solar pressured both the Nasdaq and S&P 500, falling 8.5%.
Before the opening bell, payroll processor ADP said the private sector created 179,000 jobs last month - down from 207,000 in the previous month. That was less than the 200,000 economists had been expecting.
Gasoline demand drops as price rises
Demand for gasoline, which has seen a price spike at the pump, has dropped sharply, a government report revealed Wednesday.
Gasoline demand fell to 8.943 million barrels per day from 9.148 million a week ago, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
That suggests Americans are adjusting their consumption habits as prices shoot through the roof.
The national average price for a gallon of gasoline rose about two cents from the previous day to $3.98. In the past week, the averageprice of gasoline has climbed about 10 cents.
Madoff victims could soon start getting funds
The trustee in charge of recovering money stolen by Bernard Madoff took steps Wednesday to begin payments to victims totaling $272 million.
The trustee, Irving Picard, is seeking approval from the U.S. bankruptcy court in New York to put $2.6 billion in a fund and make the first payments. Picard has recovered more than $7.6 billion in Madoff assets.
The initial payments would be relatively small because of outstanding appeals by some former Madoff customers whose claims have been rejected by Picard.
GM recalls more than 150,000 Chevrolet Cruzes
General Motors has recalled 154,112 Chevrolet Cruze models in North America to inspect for proper installation of the steering wheel, the automaker said late Wednesday.
Of those 2011-year models, 120,295 with automatic transmissions will be checked for proper installation of their transmission shift linkage. Vehicles on dealer lots will also be inspected. The recalled vehicles were built in Lordstown, Ohio, and sold in the United States and Canada.
According to GM, there were no crashes or injuries associated with the recall.
– CNNMoney.com reporters Annalyn Censky, Charles Riley, Ben Rooney and Laurie Segall contributed to this report.