Wall St. retreats after two day advance: jobs data mixed

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By Caroline Valetkevitch

U.S. stocks fell on Friday following a two-day rally as December’s jobs report gave a mixed view of the economy, with financial shares leading the way lower.

All three major indexes posted slight losses for the week and fell back into negative territory for 2015.

U.S. nonfarm payrolls rose in December, topping Wall Street expectations, but wages unexpectedly fell.

“There was this tale of two cities, with very strong job gains but on the flip side a continued real moderation in wage growth. I think the market looked at that and was sort of confused about what that means,” said Burt White, chief investment officer for LPL Financial in Boston.

“I actually think it’s the best-case scenario. It showcases the U.S. economy is continuing to grow and repair the labor market, but at the same time, the muted wage growth means the Fed’s going to stay lower for longer.”

Fourth-quarter results from S&P 500 companies pick up next week, including JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) and Wells Fargo (WFC.N). Both were among the biggest drags Friday, with JPMorgan down 1.7 percent at $59.34 and Wells Fargo down 1.6 percent at $52.68. The S&P financial index .SPSY lost 1.3 percent, the day’s worst-performing major sector.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI fell 170.5 points, or 0.95 percent, to 17,737.37, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 17.33 points, or 0.84 percent, to 2,044.81 and the Nasdaq Composite.IXIC dropped 32.12 points, or 0.68 percent, to 4,704.07.

Friday’s decline followed two days of more than 1 percent gains for the market, a rally fueled in part by minutes from the last Federal Reserve meeting, which reassured investors the central bank was in no hurry to start raising interest rates.

For the week, the Dow and Nasdaq were down 0.5 percent, while the S&P 500 lost 0.6 percent.

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