* S&P 500 on track for biggest weekly decline of 2013
* U.S. employers hired at the slowest pace in nine months in
* F5 Networks plunges after weak outlook, weighs on peers
* Indexes down: Dow 0.8 pct, S&P 0.9 pct, Nasdaq 1.1 pct
By Angela Moon
NEW YORK, April 5 U.S. stocks fell on Friday,
setting the S&P 500 for its worst weekly performance of the
year, in the wake of a payrolls report that was much weaker than
expected, the latest in a series of data to indicate economic
growth may be losing momentum.
The S&P 500 was down about 1.5 percent for the week.
Losses were broad, with about 80 percent of stocks on the New
York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq trading in negative territory.
About 88,000 jobs were added in March, less than half the
forecast of 200,000, though the unemployment rate dipped to 7.6
percent from 7.7 percent. The report follows similarly
disappointing reads on the manufacturing and services sector, as
well as other poor labor market data.
"The numbers were certainly disappointing but it has only
been a week of some bad data points. We will have to see a
steady continuation of this to say it is becoming a trend," said
JJ Kinahan, Chicago-based chief derivatives strategist at TD
"We didn't go below the 1,538 yet on the S&P 500, which is
an area of support. If we can hold above this for the next few
days, we could bounce significantly."
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 109.38
points, or 0.75 percent, at 14,496.73. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index was down 13.27 points, or 0.85 percent, at
1,546.71. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 34.80
points, or 1.08 percent, at 3,190.18.
F5 Networks Inc was the S&P's biggest percentage
loser, dropping nearly 20 percent to $72.55, a day after
forecasting second-quarter earnings and revenue that were well
Several of F5's peers were also sharply lower, with Juniper
Networks off 4.6 percent at $17.27 and Citrix Systems
down 2.6 percent at $67.90.
Airline stocks were hit after J.P Morgan Securities cut its
revenue expectations for U.S. airlines by 2 percent to 3 percent
for 2013 and 2014 and said it expects monthly revenue per
available seat mile (RASM) to turn negative for some airlines,
hurt by sequestration.
Delta Airlines Inc fell 4.8 percent to $14.04 and
United Continental Holdings was off 2.9 percent at
Retailers also weakened, with the SPDR S&P Retail
exchange-traded fund down 1.1 percent at $69.42.
If the S&P closes down on the week, it will be only the
third weekly loss this year for the index, which has gained
about 8 percent this year without a significant pullback,
leading many analysts to call for one.
Equity market gains have been partially fueled by a
bond-buying program by the Federal Reserve. Measures from
central banks around the world have also helped, and on
Thursday, Wall Street rose after the Bank of Japan announced
aggressive policies to jump-start its economy.
Friday's payroll report "should reinforce the Fed's recent
bond buying activity; but that may not be enough to turn today's
bearish feelings in the markets," said Todd Schoenberger,
managing partner at LandColt Capital in New York.
Energy shares were pressured, as the group is closely tied
to economic growth expectations. Crude oil fell for a third
straight day, dropping 0.6 percent and extending its decline for
the week to more than 5 percent. Chevron Corp fell 1
percent to $116.85.
Earnings forecasts have been scaled back heading into
first-quarter reports, due to be kicked off next week by Alcoa
. S&P 500 earnings are expected to have risen just 1.6
percent from a year ago, according to Thomson Reuters data, down
from 4.3 percent forecast in January. Alcoa stock was down 0.5
percent at $8.18.
Geopolitical tensions will remain in focus after North Korea
placed two of its intermediate range missiles on mobile
launchers and hid them on the east coast of the country, South
Korean media reported on Friday.