U.S. stocks fall after jobs data

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NEW YORK, May 6 (Xinhua) — U.S. stocks fell on Friday, extending the steep losses they had suffered in the prior session.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 98.60 points, or 0.30 percent, to 32,899.37. The S&P 500 lost 23.53 points, or 0.57 percent, to 4,123.34. The Nasdaq Composite Index decreased 173.03 points, or 1.40 percent, to 12,144.66.

Nine of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors ended in red, with materials and consumer discretionary down 1.36 percent and 1.31 percent, respectively, leading the laggards. Energy and utilities rose 2.91 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively, the only two gaining groups.

The market weakness came despite a solid jobs report.

The U.S. Labor Department reported Friday that the U.S. economy added 428,000 jobs in April and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.6 percent. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had forecast 400,000 new jobs.

On Thursday, Wall Street suffered a rout with the Dow tumbling down more than 1,000 points, as investors digested the U.S. Federal Reserve’s latest policy decision.

The Fed on Wednesday announced a half-point increase in its benchmark rate, the sharpest rate hike since 2000, as part of its effort to fight inflation.

The U.S. central bank also decided to begin reducing its holdings of Treasury securities and agency debt and agency mortgage-backed securities on June 1.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell said Wednesday that half-point rises remain on the table for the next couple of meetings, adding a 75-basis-point hike was not actively being considered.

For the week, the Dow fell 0.24 percent, its sixth straight negative week. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq declined 0.21 percent and 1.54 percent, respectively, for their fifth consecutive losing week.