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Troubling Jobs Data Leads To Lower Close On Wall Street

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Stocks moved sharply lower over the course of the trading session on Friday, adding to the steep loss posted in the previous session.

The major averages ended the session firmly in negative territory but off their worst levels of the day. The Dow tumbled 360.91 points or 1.7 percent to 21,052.53, the Nasdaq plunged by 114.23 points or 1.5 percent to 7,373.08 and the S&P 500 slumped 38.25 points or 1.5 percent to 2,488.65.

For the week, the Dow plummeted by 2.7 percent, the Nasdaq tumbled by 1.7 percent and the S&P 500 nosedived by 2.1 percent.

The weakness on Wall Street came after a report from the Labor Department showed employment in the U.S. fell much more than expected in the month of March.

The report said employment plunged by 701,000 jobs in March after jumping by an upwardly revised 275,000 jobs in February.

Economists had expected employment to slump by 100,000 jobs compared to the addition of 273,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

With the much bigger than expected drop in employment, the unemployment rate surged up to 4.4 percent in March from 3.5 percent in February. The unemployment rate had been expected to climb to 3.8 percent.

Banking stocks showed a substantial move to the downside on the day, dragging the KBW Bank Index down by 3.4 percent.

Significant weakness was also visible among housing stocks, as reflected by the 3.4 percent nosedive by the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index.

Steel, oil service and computer hardware stocks also saw considerable weakness on the day, moving lower along with most of the other major sectors.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a lackluster performance during trading on Friday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index closed just above the unchanged line, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index dipped by 0.2 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets all moved to the downside on the day. While the German DAX Index fell by 0.5 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index plunged by 1.2 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively.

In the bond, treasuries moved higher after ending the previous session little changed. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 4 basis points at 0.587 percent.

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