* U.S. manufacturing growth slows in April - ISM
* U.S. companies hire less, manufacturing growth slows in April
* Copper, oil prices slide more than 3 percent
* Indexes fall: Dow 0.4 pct, S&P off 0.4 pct, Nasdaq off 0.4 pct
By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK, May 1 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks fell on Wednesday after a batch of economic data indicated weaker-than-expected growth in the world's top economies a day after the S&P 500 index closed at a record high.
U.S. private employers added 119,000 jobs in April, well below economists' expectations, and a separate report showed the pace of U.S. manufacturing growth slowed in April as the sector expanded only modestly.
Adding to concern, growth in China's manufacturing sector unexpectedly slowed last month as new export orders fell, raising fresh doubts after a disappointing first quarter.
Materials and energy stocks led declines as expectations of slower growth sent prices of basic materials lower. A gauge of commodities fell 1.4 percent while the S&P energy index fell 1.1 percent and materials lost 1.3 percent. Copper prices and Brent futures fell more than 3 percent.
"There is concern in the market because numbers are coming in a little bit soft in several areas," said Terry Morris, senior equity manager for National Penn Investors Trust Company in Reading, Pennsylvania.
The S&P has recently ended sessions much stronger than its early lows as traders buy equities on signs of weakness.
"The trend is higher, and investors want to buy on dips," Morris said. "Stocks still are attractive relative to other asset classes."
Disappointing results from companies, including MasterCard and Merck, were also weighing on the market.
Of the 342 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings so far this season, 68.7 percent have beaten expectations and 43.2 percent have reported revenue above forecasts. Over the past four quarters, 67 percent have beaten earnings and 52 percent have beaten revenue expectations.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 59.58 points or 0.4 percent, to 14,780.22, the S&P 500 lost 5.81 points or 0.36 percent, to 1,591.76 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 13.71 points or 0.41 percent, to 3,315.07.
April marked the S&P index's sixth consecutive month of gains, and the benchmark index closed at a record high on Tuesday. The S&P is up 11.6 percent so far this year.
The Federal Reserve is scheduled to issue a statement at 2 p.m. (1800 GMT) after its two-day meeting on monetary policy. The U.S. central bank is expected to stay on its stimulus course.
MasterCard Inc shares were down 2.3 percent at $540.10 after the world's second-largest credit and debit card network reported revenue fell short of the average analyst estimate.
Merck & Co reported lower-than-expected first quarter sales as generic competition hurt demand and a stronger dollar hit overseas sales. The stock was down 2.2 percent at $45.97.
Shares of wireless carrier T-Mobile US rose 5.6 percent to $16.44 as it debuted on the New York Stock Exchange. The company was created by the merger of MetroPCS Communications (NYSE: PCS - news) and Deutsche Telekom AG (Xetra: 555750 - news) 's U.S. unit T-Mobile USA.