NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stocks pared losses by latemorning Wednesday in a volatile day of trading. The Dow Jones Industrial Average had dropped 153 points at its session low after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen warned of potentially overstretched equity valuations.
Equities were also under pressure as weaker private payrolls numbers from ADP triggered fears ahead of the official U.S. jobs report on Friday and amid a global selloff of government bonds.
The S&P 500 was down 0.21%, the Dow fell 0.32%, and the Nasdaq slid 0.18%.
Crude prices hit fresh 2015 highs after oil inventories showed a surprise drop, the first in 17 weeks. Supplies were down 3.9 million barrels for the week ended May 1. Economists had forecast an increase of 1 million barrels. West Texas Intermediate crude oil rose 2.6% to $61.99 a barrel.
Yellen said market valuations were "generally quite high," though noted the Fed was not seeing signs of a bubble. Yellen's comments came in a joint appearance with International Monetary Fund managing director, Christine Lagarde, at a conference in Washington.
ADP reported 169,000 jobs were added to private payrolls in April, lower than 189,000 jobs in March. Economists had expected 193,000 jobs to have been added last month.
"ADP's estimated April gain in private payrolls was 169K, the weakest since Jan 2014. Its predictive power for the BLS monthly employment report has been poor in recent months," cautioned RBS Securities' Guy Berger. "It's flubbed the call four of the past six months."
U.S. Treasury yields were trading close to recent highs. Yields reached their highest point since early March on Tuesday as U.S. Treasuries sold off alongside German, Spanish, Italian and U.K. bonds.