Dow notches its longest losing streak since June
U.S. stocks finished lower on Friday, 08 March 2019 for a fifth session in a row, with the Dow notching its longest losing streak since June, after a disappointing jobs report and a slump in Chinese exports added to concerns about slowing global growth.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average bounced off intraday lows to slide 22.99 points, or 0.1%, to 25,450.24. The S&P 500 index shed 5.86 points, or 0.2%, to 2,743.07, its worst string of losses since November, and the Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 13.32 points, or 0.2%, to 7,408.14, marking its weakest stretch since April. For the week, both the Dow and the S&P 500 fell 2.2% and the Nasdaq declined 2.5%.
Investors were caught off guard by a surprisingly weak jobs number after the Labor Department announced the U.S. economy added just 20,000 new jobs in February, well below the 178,000 forecast. The unemployment rate fell to 3.8% from 4%, while workers saw an 11 cent-an-hour increase in average hourly earnings, the largest gain since the end of the 2009 recession.
The report follows weak data from China. The world's second-largest economy reported a 20% drop in February exports after a 9.1% gain in January. Officials blamed the plunge on sagging demand and some distortions from the Lunar New Year holiday. But economists said that even if those two months are added together, the data looked weak.China's news adds to concerns about global growth. Investors are still reeling from a more dovish-than-expected European Central Bank, which announced new measures to support a slowing economy on Thursday.
Separately, new-home construction rebounded in January, after a weak showing in December, the Commerce Department reported. Housing starts ran at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.23 million in January, an 18.4% increase from December's revised reading.
Among shares under focus, DuPont shares reversed direction to rise 0.3% after the board of the materials and chemicals giant approved the separation of its materials science division, setting up the creation of a new publicly traded firm called Dow. The new firm is set to trade independently on or about March 20. Shares of Costco Wholesale climbed 5.1% after the bulk retailer reported fiscal second-quarter earnings Thursday that surpassed expectations.
Gold and silver prices ended little lower on Friday, 08 March 2019 at Comex. Prices ended lower despite a lower dollar. Gold ended 0.4% lower about $1,300 and silver languished a little above $15.
The dollar index ended lower by 0.4% on Friday.
U.S. Treasuries edged higher, pushing yields lower. The 2-yr yield declined two basis points to 2.44%, and the 10-yr yield declined one basis point to 2.63%.
Crude oil futures finished lower on Friday, 08 March 2019 as a downbeat employment report from the U.S. and trade data from China reinforced worries about global economic growth and energy demand. Prices, however, pared much of their earlier losses to score a gain for the week as a third-consecutive weekly decline in U.S. oil-drilling rigs pointed to a potential fall in domestic production activity. Output stood at a record 12.1 million barrels a day last week.
Against that backdrop, April West Texas Intermediate crude declined by 59 cents, or 1%, to settle at $56.07 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after dropping earlier to as low as $54.52. Prices rose 0.5% for the week. Global benchmark May Brent crude lost 56 cents, or 0.8%, to $65.74 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe, but still saw a weekly rise of 1%.
Looking ahead, investors will receive Retail Sales for January and Business Inventories for December on Monday.
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(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)