Sat, May 05, 2012
Business > Markets

Wall Street suffers worst week this year

2012-05-04 23:42:06 GMT2012-05-05 07:42:06(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

NEW YORK, May 4 (Xinhua) -- Wall Street ended its worst week this year with severe sell-off on Friday after the government's highly-anticipated monthly jobs report came in weaker than expected.

When the market closed, the Dow Jones industrial average gave up 168.32 points, or 1.27 percent, at 13,038.27. The Standard & Poor's 500 sank 22.47 points, or 1.61 percent, to 1,369.10. The Nasdaq Composite Index tumbled 67.96 points, or 2.25 percent, to 2, 956.34.

All 30 Dow components were mired in negative territory, with Bank of America and Cisco Systems among the worst performers.

Energy stocks dropped the most among ten S&P 500 big-cap sectors after oil prices plummeting nearly 4 percent on demand concerns.

The sell-off came after the Labor Department said the economy only added 115,000 new jobs in April, much less than the market expectation of 170,000.

The unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent, lower than the median estimates of 8.2 percent. However, the improvement was because 342,000 people dropped out of the labor force and was no longer counted in the number.

After Friday's decline, the blue-chip Dow lost 1.44 percent in last five days. The broader S&P 500 dropped 2.44 percent, the biggest loss since Dec. 17, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq slumped 3.68 percent for the week.

During the coming weekend, investors will keep a close watch on elections in both France and Greece.

In France, a Socialist candidate who was against the austerity plan seems to have a fat chance to beat current president Nicolas Sarkozy in the country's presidential election, underlying the political pressure in European countries on the debt issues.

Greek society, on the other hand, seems heavily divided on growth-versus-austerity issues, which has the potential to prompt far more volatility once markets reopen on Monday.

In other markets, the U.S. dollar rose against most of its major counterparts as disappointing jobs report forced investors to flee into safe-haven assets.

U.S. crude oil price plunged on Friday and settled below 100 dollars a barrel for the first time since Feb. 13 on rising concerns over global economy.

Light, sweet crude for June delivery tumbled 4.05 dollars, or 3. 95 percent to settle at 98.49 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the biggest one-day drop this year. For the week, oil prices gave up 6.44 dollars, or 6.14 percent.

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