Indexes drop from record highs, but tally strong weekly gains

(Reuters) – 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 non-farm 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 .DJI fell 277.26 points, or 0.94%, to 29,102.51, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 18.07 points, or 0.54%, to 3,327.71 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 51.64 points, or 0.54%, to 9,520.51.

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

Fourth-quarter corporate reporting

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