US stocks retreat from records as jobs report tops estimates

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, (NYSE) in New York, March 7, 2018. — Reuters pic

NEW YORK, Feb 7 — Wall Street stocks pulled back early today, retreating from records as the US employment report showed stronger-than-expected jobs growth in January.

Employers added 225,000 new non-farm jobs last month, far surpassing expectations, although unemployment edged up by a tenth to 3.6 per cent, the Labor Department reported.

Markets continued to monitor the coronavirus outbreak, which has claimed more than 630 lives and significantly slowed Chinese economic activity, but which is still viewed as unlikely to significantly derail the global economy.

Analysts said the early losses in US stocks reflected a “consolidation” phase following four straight days of gains that have lifted valuations. 

About 15 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.5 per cent at 29,221.41.

The broad-based S&P 500 dropped 0.4 per cent to 3,332.86, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index shed 0.5 per cent to 9,524.54.

Uber Technologies surged 5.7 per cent as it moved up the target date for becoming profitable to the fourth quarter of 2020, rather than in 2021.

Ford dropped 2.2 per cent after it promoted Jim Farley to chief operating officer and announced automotive president Joe Hinrichs will retire. Shares have been under pressure following a disappointing 2020 outlook released earlier this week. — AFP

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