After moving sharply lower at the open, stocks have seen continued weakness over the course of morning trading on Friday. The major averages remain stuck firmly in negative territory, although selling pressure has waned from earlier in the session.
The sell-off seen at the start of trading 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 May. The report also showed an unexpected uptick by the unemployment rate.
Adding to the negative sentiment, a report from the Institute for Supply Management showed that its index of activity in the manufacturing sector fell by more than expected in May.
Most of the major sectors have shown notable moves to the downside on the day, with housing stocks posting particularly steep losses. The Philadelphia Housing Sector Index has tumbled by 4.9 percent, pulling back toward the low end of a recent trading range.
Banking stocks have also moved sharply lower, dragging the KBW Bank Index down by 3.5 percent. Natural gas, electronic storage, networking, and oil service stocks are also seeing substantial weakness.
On the other hand, gold stocks are bucking the downtrend amid a notable increase by the price of the precious metal. With gold for August delivery jumping $47.50 to $1,611.70 an ounce, the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index is up by 5.2 percent.
The major averages have moved roughly sideways in recent trading, lingering near their worst levels of the day. The Dow is down 209.42 points or 1.7 percent at 12,184.03, the Nasdaq is down 53.74 points or 1.9 percent at 2,773.60 and the S&P 500 is down 24.38 points or 1.9 percent at 1,285.95.
by RTT Staff Writer
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