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U.S. stocks fall sharply after stronger than expected jobs report

Stock MarketsMar 06, 2015 04:46PM ET
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The Dow, NASDAQ and S&P 500 all closed lower Friday to post losses for the week -- U.S. stocks fell sharply on Friday after stronger than expected data from the monthly jobs report heightened concerns that the Federal Reserve could raise interest rates by June.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 278.94 or 1.54% to 17,856.78, marking its biggest daily decline since Jan. 5 when it declined by more than 330 points.

All 10 sectors on the S&P 500 Composite Index ended lower on the day, as the S&P 500 lost 29.78 to close at 2,071.26.

The NASDAQ Composite index, meanwhile, posted a weekly loss for the first time in five weeks, as it dropped 1.11% or 55.44 to 4,927.37. Earlier in the week, the NASDAQ cleared the 5,000 level for the first time since 2000.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) rose 0.15% or 0.19 to 126.60 after it was announced that the tech giant will replace AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) on the Dow at the close of trading on Mar. 18. Stocks in Apple moved slightly up ahead of Monday's expected announcement, launching the new iWatch. AT&T Inc. dropped 1.53% or 0.52 to 33.48 on Friday.

The top performer on the Dow Jones Industrial Average on Friday was EI du Pont de Nemours and Company (NYSE:DD), which lost 0.18 points or 0.23% to close at 78.14. The worst performer was Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), which dropped 2.35% or 2.41 to 100.11.

On the NASDAQ Composite index, the top performer was eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY), which gained 1.34% or 0.79 to 59.87. The Northern California-based e-commerce company is expected to spin-off PayPal at some point in 2015. The worst performer, meanwhile, was Vodafone Group PLC (NASDAQ:VOD), which fell 4.07% or 1.40 to 32.97.

Beset by significant losses in the Utilities, Health Care and Consumer Staples sectors, the S&P 500 dropped by 1.42% on the day. Dividend paying utilities have been one of the top beneficiaries of a low-rate environment, since the Fed lowered interest rates below 1% in December, 2008. On Friday, however, the sector fell by 3.41% as the Wisconsin Energy Corporation (NYSE:WEC) and Southwestern Energy Company (NYSE:SWN) were among the worst performers of the day. The SPDR Select Sector - Utilities (NYSE:XLU) exchange traded fund, also dropped 3% or 1.34 to 43.39.

Despite posting minor losses, the Financial sector still finished Friday as the top performer on the S&P500. The Charles Schwab Corporation (NYSE:SCHW), E-TRADE Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:ETFC) and TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation (NYSE:AMTD) all closed the day up higher, after receiving a price target hike from Deutsche Bank AG (XETRA:DBKGn) NA O.N. (NYSE:DB). E-TRADE was the top performer on the S&P 500, gaining 3.26% or 0.88 to 27.85.

The worst performer on the S&P 500 Newmont Mining Corporation (NYSE:NEM), which dropped 7.91% or 2.00 to 24.37. The mining sector posted the biggest decline in the U.S. jobs report, losing 9,600 jobs last month.

U.S. stocks fall sharply after stronger than expected jobs report

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