* About 80 percent of stocks on NYSE, Nasdaq in red
* U.S. employers hired at the slowest pace in nine months in
* F5 Networks plunges after weak outlook, weighs on peers
* Indexes down: Dow 0.5 pct, S&P 0.7 pct, Nasdaq 0.9 pct
By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK, April 5 The S&P 500 was on track for
its worst weekly performance of the year on Friday after
weaker-than-expected U.S. jobs data added to worries the U.S.
economy could 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 falling.
The government said 88,000 jobs were added in March, less
than half economists' average forecast of 200,000. The
unemployment rate dipped to 7.6 percent from 7.7 percent,
largely due to people dropping out of the work force.
The unemployment report follows similarly disappointing
readings on the manufacturing and services sector as well as
other poor labor market data.
Next week reports on first-quarter earnings unofficially get
started, another concern for investors. Analysts' estimates for
earnings growth in the first quarter have fallen since late last
year, according to Thomson Reuters data.
"They're really waiting for the earnings season on balance
to disappoint. Given the macro background, I think that really
is the worry," said Bruce Zaro, chief technical strategist,
Delta Global Asset Management in Boston.
The S&P 500's biggest percentage decliner was network gear
maker F5 Networks Inc, which dropped 16.8 percent to
$73.58 a day after forecasting quarterly earnings and revenue
well below Wall Street's expectations.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 78.95
points, or 0.54 percent, at 14,527.16. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index was down 10.34 points, or 0.66 percent, at
1,549.64. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 29.15
points, or 0.90 percent, at 3,195.83.
Several of F5's competitors were also sharply lower, with
Juniper Networks off 2.9 percent at $17.60 and Citrix
Systems down 1.7 percent at $68.53.
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 to turn negative for some airlines, partly
due to the federal government's automatic spending cuts.
Delta Airlines Inc fell 4.8 percent to $14.04 and
United Continental Holdings was off 2.9 percent at
If the S&P closes down on the week, it will be only the
third weekly loss this year. The benchmark index has gained
about 8 percent so far this year without a significant pullback,
leading many analysts to expect one.
Energy shares were pressured as the group is closely tied to
economic growth expectations and crude oil futures fell for a
third straight day. Chevron Corp fell 0.8 percent to
Earnings forecasts have been scaled back heading into
first-quarter reports, due to start on Monday with 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 a
4.3 percent forecast in January.