Wall St. turns negative as oil resumes downward spiral

U.S. stocks pared gains and turned negative on Friday, weighed down by energy stocks as oil prices dipped below $33 a barrel -their lowest in more than a decade.

U.S. stocks pared gains and turned negative on Friday, weighed down by energy stocks as oil prices dipped below $33 a barrel -their lowest in more than a decade.

Oil erased earlier gains, pressured by persistent global oversupply and a bleak demand outlook. They have lost about 70 percent since mid-2014.[O/R]

Exxon <XOM.N> and Chevron <CVX.N> fell about 1.5 percent weighing the most on the Dow and S&P 500.

Stocks had been higher earlier in the day as market tumult in China eased and data showed robust U.S. job growth.

Nonfarm payrolls surged in December and unemployment rate held steady at 5 percent. October and November payrolls were revised sharply higher.


The upbeat report suggested that a recent manufacturing-led slowdown in economic growth would be temporary.

Investors have been jittery as markets got off to their worst four-day start to a year and economists slashed fourth-quarter U.S. growth estimates.

"The market's reaction is something between curious and concerning," said Richard Scalone, co-head of foreign exchange at TJM Brokerage in Chicago.

"You are not getting that much of a lasting reaction in markets. The week has witnessed some of the most concerning phenomenon in some time. People are skittish in holding positions."

At 11:31 a.m. ET (1431 GMT) the Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was down 44.14 points, or 0.27 percent, at 16,469.96, the S&P 500 <.SPX> was down 5.5 points, or 0.28 percent, at 1,937.59 and the Nasdaq Composite index <.IXIC> was down 13.05 points, or 0.28 percent, at 4,676.38.

Nine of the 10 major S&P 500 sectors were lower, with the energy index's <.SPNY> 1.34 percent loss making it the top decliner.

Apple <AAPL.O> shares snapped their three-day losing streak and were up 0.8 percent. They rose as much as 2.8 percent earlier in the session.

Friday's jobs report was the first since the Federal Reserve raised interest rates last month for the first time in nearly a decade, highlighting the strength of the U.S. domestic economy.


While various Fed officials have said four rate hikes in 2016 could be possible, economists and traders are pricing in two hikes, while reducing bets on a third hike by December.

The Fed meets next on Jan. 26-27.

China nudged the yuan higher for the first time in nine days, while traders welcomed the country's decision to suspend a circuit breaker that halted trading twice this week.

The CSI300 index <.CSI300> and the Shanghai Composite index <.SSEC> both closed up 2 percent, capping off a week of tumult.

Shares of Qorvo <QRVO.O>, were down 4.2 percent at $43.70, a day after the Apple <AAPL.O> supplier cut its revenue estimate for the third quarter.

Gap <GPS.N> was down 11.6 percent to $23.64 after the apparel retailer reported a larger-than-expected drop in December same-store sales.

Container Store <TCS.N> slumped 39.8 percent to $4.32, a day after storage products retailer's fourth-quarter profit forecast missed estimates.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,858 to 1,056. On the Nasdaq, 1,673 issues fell and 988 advanced.


The S&P 500 index showed one new 52-week high and 57 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 9 new highs and 203 new lows.

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