U.S. stocks retreat after nonfarm jobs report

Source: Xinhua| 2017-04-08 04:55:44|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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NEW YORK, April 7 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks ended slightly lower Friday after wavering between small gains and losses, as investors digested the country's nonfarm payrolls report for March.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 6.85 points, or 0.03 percent, to 20,656.10. The S&P 500 lost 1.95 points, or 0.08 percent, to 2,355.54. The Nasdaq Composite Index edged down 1.14 points, or 0.02 percent, to 5,877.81.

U.S. total nonfarm payroll employment edged up by 98,000 in March, well below market estimates of 180,000, and the unemployment rate declined to 4.5 percent in March, according to the Labor Department Friday.

In March, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 5 cents to 26.14 U.S. dollars, following a 7-cent increase in February.

Some analysts said the pullback in hiring could give the U.S. central bank reason to be more cautious on its next rate hike.

"The payroll survey is downright weak, with not just fewer than 100k jobs added in March but a first quarter average of 178k, which is especially poor after the 148k average in the fourth quarter," said Chris Low, chief economist at FTN Financial, in a note.

Meanwhile, investors turned to safe haven assets, after the U.S. missile attack on a Syrian airbase.

The U.S. military on Thursday launched a targeted missile strike at a Syrian military airfield in its first direct assault on the army of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad since Syrian crisis began six years ago.

A total of 59 Tomahawk Land Attack missiles were launched from the destroyers USS Porter and USS Ross in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea at about 8:40 p.m. EDT, and Syrian aircraft, hardened aircraft shelters, fuel points, air defense systems, and radars were targeted, according to a Pentagon statement.

For the week, the blue-chip Dow edged down 0.03 percent, and the broader S&P 500 fell 0.30 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq decreased 0.57 percent.