Stocks – Dow's Late-Stage Rally Falls Short Amid Slump in U.S. Job Gains

© Reuters. – The Dow closed lower for a fifth-straight day Friday as a late-session rally proved too little too late following an earlier slide on data showing the U.S. economy created fewer jobs than expected, adding to fears of a slowdown in global growth.

The fell 0.09% to close at 25,450.24 after recovering from a session low of 25,252.46. The lost 0.21%, while the fell 0.18%.

For the week, the Dow was off 2.2%, its second weekly loss in a row. The S&P 500 fell 2.15%. The Nasdaq dropped 2.5%. The Nasdaq’s decline was its first after 10 straight weekly gains. The S&P 500 snapped a five-week winning streak.

The U.S. Labor Department reported 20,000 jobs were created last month, well short of economists’ estimates for around 181,000, raising fears the slowdown in global growth could be starting to make a dent on the U.S. economy. But wage growth and the unemployment rate did offer some solace for investors and traders as both measures exceeded economists’ estimates.

Analysts downplayed the report, saying weather-related noise had weighed on job creation.

The slowing may reflect “some moderation” in the trend, but much of decline was likely caused by “weather effects,” High Frequency Economics said. “While the three-month average of job gains is a still-healthy 186,000, that is below what has been a 200K-plus trend.”

“The trend likely remains more than strong enough to keep the unemployment rate trending down over time,” HFE added.

The slump in U.S. job growth comes during a week in which signs of a slowdown in the global economy have been front and center.

China said Friday its exports slid the most in three years in February compared with a year earlier. A day earlier, the European Union launched a fresh stimulus measure to prop up

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