Wall Street loses steam on poor jobs report

US stocks eased on Friday after their recent record streak of gains as the first monthly decline in US nonfarm jobs in seven years dampened sentiment and pharmacy shares declined.

Walgreens Boots Alliance and CVS Health fell to session lows and were among the biggest drags on the S&P 500 after a CNBC report that Amazon was close to a decision on selling prescription drugs. Amazon shares were up 0.7 per cent, while Rite Aid was down 4.8 per cent.

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The Labor Department’s closely-watched employment report showed nonfarm payrolls fell by 33,000 in September as Hurricanes Harvey and Irma left displaced workers temporarily unemployed and delayed hiring. However, a bright spot was the better-than-expected rise in average wages, up 0.5 per cent, compared with a 0.3 per cent increase estimated by economists polled by Thomson Reuters.

“It’s been amazing how resilient our US stock market has been… so there’s no surprise on a day where most people feel it was a mixed jobs report at best that the market is actually reacting in a way that makes sense,” said Jake Dollarhide, chief executive officer of Longbow Asset Management in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

“It’s a logical move for this illogical stock market.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 16.94 points, or 0.07 per cent, to 22,758.45, the S&P 500 lost 5.12 points, or 0.20 per cent, to 2,546.95 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.43 points, or 0.02 per cent, to 6,583.93.

The slight declines follow the S&P 500’s sixth straight record high close and four straight days where all three of the major indexes hit record closing highs.

The CBOE Volatility index, Wall Street’s fear gauge, jumped to 9.65 after setting a record low close in the previous session.

S&P energy index declined 0.9 per cent as oil prices looked set to end a five-week bull run amid a bout of profit taking and the return of oversupply worries.

Adding to the worries, producers were evacuating their Gulf of Mexico offshore platforms ahead of Tropical Storm Nate, the second storm in as many months to threaten Gulf Coast oil and refining facilities.

Shares of Costco dropped to their lowest in nearly a month after the warehouse club retailer reported a fall in gross margins. The stock was the biggest drag on the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.99-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.22-to-1 ratio favoured decliners. 


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