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Major Averages Post Steep Losses On Disappointing Jobs Report

5/4/2012 4:30 PM ET

With disappointing jobs data generating broad based selling pressure, stocks moved sharply lower over the course of the trading day on Friday.

The sell-off came on the heels of the release of a report from the Labor Department showing much weaker than expected job growth in the month of April.

The report showed that employment increased by 115,000 jobs in April compared to expectations for an increase of about 165,000 jobs.

Most of the major sectors moved to the downside on the day, reflecting the broad based selling pressure generated by the disappointing jobs report.

Oil service stocks turned in some of the market's worst performances, dragging the Philadelphia Oil Service Index down by 3.8 percent. The weakness in the sector came as crude for June delivery tumbled $4.05 to a nearly three-month closing low of $98.49 a barrel.

Significant weakness was also visible among steel stocks, with the NYSE Arca Steel Index falling by 3.3 percent amid concerns about the outlook for demand. With the loss, the index dropped to its lowest closing level in four months.

Networking stocks also moved sharply lower on the day, resulting in a 2.5 percent loss by the NYSE Arca Networking Index. Software, telecom, health insurance, and banking also posted steep losses.

After moving sharply lower in morning trading, the major averages remained firmly negative throughout the afternoon. The Dow slid 168.32 points or 1.3 percent to 13,038.27, the Nasdaq plunged 67.96 points or 2.3 percent to 2,956.34 and the S&P 500 fell 22.47 points or 1.6 percent to 1,369.10.

The losses on the day resulted in steep losses for the week. The Dow fell by 1.4 percent, while the Nasdaq tumbled by 3.7 percent and the S&P 500 dropped by 2.4 percent.

by RTT Staff Writer

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