Dow lower as U.S. jobs data roils markets
U.S. equity markets fell Friday afternoon on a weaker-than-expected reading on the jobs market in the month of April.
As at 2.30pm EDT, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 1.23% at 13,045.46, the S&P 500 was 1.49% lower at 1,370.84 and the Nasdaq was 1.99% lower at 2,964.54.
The Labour Department reported a net gain of 115,000 jobs, far below the 165,000 consensus estimate, according to Bloomberg.
But upward revisions to February and March job numbers, along with a drop in the unemployment rate to 8.1% from 8.2%, which was anticipated to remain steady, could offset some of the disappointment.
March figures were upwardly revised to a net gain of 154,000, up from a prior reading of 120,000, while February figures were revised higher to 259,000, up from 240,000 initially.
Average hourly earnings were flat, following a 0.2 percent gain in March. Analysts expected a 0.2 percent gain.
In corporate news, social networking site Facebook set a price range late Thursday of $28 to $35 per share for its initial public offering, upping the maximum size of its offering to $13.6 billion from a prior $5 billion estimate.
The eight-year-old social networking site, started at Harvard by Mark Zuckerberg, indicated an initial public offering price range that yielded a market valuation of $77 billion to $96 billion.
Insurer American International Group (NYSE:AIG) said late Thursday that its profit grew more than twofold in the first quarter.
After-tax operating income, which excludes certain investments and hedging activities, was $3.1 billion, or $1.65 per share. In the prior-year period, it was $2.1 billion, or $1.34 per share.
Analysts polled by FactSet were expecting on average adjusted net income of $1.19 per share.
Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) booked a $420 million charge tied to its Edwardsport coal gasification plant in the first quarter, which
ate into profits, but the company still beat estimates by one cent.
Net earnings slumped to $295 million, or 22 cents a share, on $3.63 billion in revenue in the latest period that ended March 31.
LinkedIn (NASDAQ:LNKD) shares jumped after the social media company reported strong earnings and revenue that doubled versus last year.
Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK) confirmed that the company is facing an inquiry from the Securities and Exchange Commission after revelations about CEO Aubrey McClendon's controversial compensation program.
Exelon (NYSE:EXC) reported Friday that its first-quarter earnings fell 70 percent on merger costs, weak margins, and warmer-than-normal weather that reduced demand for electricity.
For the three months ended march 31, the company reported net income of $200 million, or 28 cents a share, down from $668 million, or $1.01 a share, a year earlier. Revenue slipped 5.4 percent to $4.69 billion.
GeoEye (NASDAQ:GEOY) has launched a friendly takeover bid to acquire rival DigitalGlobe (NYSE:DGI) in a cash and stock deal pegged at $792.3 million, the company said Friday.
Crude-oil futures fell on Friday to their lowest since mid-February on the US jobs report and as investors were worried ahead of elections in France and Greece.
In New York's futures trading pits, gold for June delivery was settled $10.40 higher, or up 0.6%, at $1,645.20 an ounce while
crude for June delivery dropped $4.74, or 4.6%, to $97.81 a barrel.
The Markit eurozone composite purchasing managers' index also showed Friday that business activity dropped sharply in the region in April. European markets ended lower with the FTSE 100 losing 1.9%, the CAC 40 sinking 1.8% and the DAX dropping 2%.