U.S. stocks fell Friday to cap their first five-week losing streak since July 2004, as a dismal jobs report added to the drumbeat of investor concerns about a slowing economy.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 97.29 points, or 0.8%, to 12151.26, led lower by Alcoa, which dropped 28 cents, or 1.7%, to $15.92. The blue-chip index has dropped 5.1% during its five-week losing skid and closed Friday at its lowest level since March 23.
Friday’s declines come after the DJIA had slumped 321 points in back-to-back sessions. The average registered its biggest three-day drop since March 16.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index shed 12.78 points, or 1%, to 1300.16, in a broad selloff led by the telecommunications, technology and consumer discretionary sectors. Nine of the 10 S&P 500’s sectors finished in the red; energy was the only sector that closed in positive territory.
The technology-oriented Nasdaq Composite Index slumped 40.53 points, or 1.5%, to 2732.78.
The government’s jobs report showed hiring by U.S. companies slowed markedly in May, while the unemployment rate kept rising.
Nonfarm payrolls rose by 54,000 last month as the private sector posted the smallest job gain in nearly a year, according to the Labor Department. The jobless rate, which is obtained from a separate household survey, unexpectedly rose to 9.1% in May.
“It confirms the market fears that the economy has hit a soft patch,” said Jim McDonald, chief investment strategist at Northern Trust Global Investments. “This is going to be a several-month period of uncertainty.”
The disappointing report follows a string of weak economic data that have fueled anxiety on Wall Street. Regional manufacturing reports have been weak, consumer confidence has dropped and auto sales suffered a setback last month.
Running against that tide, data on the U.S. services sector strengthened last month, according to data from the Institute for Supply Management.
The ISM report “softened the blow of the unemployment number,” said Tom Donino, co-head of trading at First New York Securities.
About 3.6 billion shares changed hands in New York Stock Exchange composite trading.
“People have been operating from a defensive standpoint,” Donino said. “The market is biding its time to see what the effects will be after QE2 ends,” he added referring to the Federal Reserve’s second round of quantitative easing, which is expected to end later this month.
Among stocks in focus, DuPont dropped 88 cents, or 1.7%, to 50.29, while Walt Disney fell 68 cents, or 1.7%, to 39.38. Both stocks are Dow components. For the week, the Dow fell 2.3%, its biggest weekly decline since August.
Crude-oil futures settled little-changed near $100 a barrel as weakness in the dollar offset early losses on disappointing jobs data. Gold futures ticked up 0.6% to $1,542.40 an ounce.
The U.S. dollar dropped against both the euro and the yen.
Demand for U.S. Treasurys soared again, pushing the yield on the 10-year note below the psychologically key level of 3%. Yields move in the opposite direction of prices.
In corporate news, Newell Rubbermaid shed $2.00, or 12%, to 14.97, after the consumer-products maker cut its full-year earnings outlook. The company cited weaker consumer spending trends that have caused retailers to be more cautious in ordering inventory.
Quiksilver soared 66 cents, or 15%, to 5.04 after the outdoor sports outfitter reported higher revenue for the first time in three years.
Orexigen Therapeutics said it plans to suspend clinical development of its U.S. obesity programs as it disputes a decision by the Food and Drug Administration regarding its Contrave weight loss pill. Shares plunged $1.06, or 33%, to 2.12.
Cascade’s fiscal first-quarter profit almost tripled as shipments to its main Americas market surged amid improving economic conditions. Shares jumped $8.49, or 22%, to 47.44.
American Tower slumped $3.17, or 5.8%, to 51.21 after it received a subpoena from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission related to the company’s tax accounting and reporting. The cell-tower operator said it will cooperate fully with the SEC’s request for certain documents from 2007 through the present.
Diamond Foods shares slumped $1.91, or 2.7%, to 69.44 after the packaged-food company gave a disappointing profit outlook for the current quarter.