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U.S. indexes fall from record levels

Wall Street

U.S. indexes dropped from record highs on Friday following a four-day rally, but stocks still posted strong gains

Wall Street fell from record levels on Friday after a four-day rally as investors digested the monthly U.S. jobs report and braced for the next coronavirus developments, but stocks still posted solid gains for the week.

The S&P 500 recorded its biggest weekly percentage increase in eight months and the Nasdaq tallied its biggest weekly rise in more than a year.

It’s just a technical pullback based on the big run-up we had this week, said Matt Maley, chief market strategist at Miller Tabak.

Ever since the coronavirus became a big deal, people have pulled back a little bit on Friday because they didn’t know what was going to happen over the weekend, Maley added.

The Labor Department’s closely watched employment report showed nonfarm payrolls increased by 225,000 jobs last month, while economists polled by Reuters had forecast payrolls would rise by 160,000 jobs.

The report followed other encouraging U.S. economic data earlier in the week. Indeed, key risks to the U.S. economy have receded, the Federal Reserve said in its latest monetary policy report to Congress, but the Fed did note risk from the fallout from the coronavirus outbreak.

The death toll in mainland China topped 630 as the coronavirus epidemic roiled the world’s second-largest economy.

We still don’t know the magnitude of the economic damage that the coronavirus will eventually do to the global economy and that continues to get contemplated by market participants, said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 277.26 points, or 0.94%, to 29,102.51, the S&P 500 lost 18.07 points, or 0.54%, to 3,327.71 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 51.64 points, or 0.54%, to 9,520.51.

Most S&P 500 sectors fell, with materials and technology the weakest performers.

Fourth-quarter corporate reporting season is more than halfway done and overall S&P 500 earnings are expected to have climbed 2.3% in the period, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

In company news, Uber Technologies Inc shares climbed 9.5% after the ride-hailing company laid out an ambitious plan to be profitable by the end of 2020.

Take-Two Interactive Software Inc shares fell 11.9% after the videogame publisher’s adjusted revenue missed estimates.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.83-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.20-to-1 ratio favoured decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 37 new 52-week highs and one new low; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 81 new highs and 79 new lows.

About 7.1 billion shares changed hands in U.S. exchanges, below the roughly 7.7 billion daily average over the last 20 sessions.


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