NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stocks fell for the fourth straight day on Friday as weak jobs data gave more evidence the economic recovery would be less robust than expected.
The much bigger-than-forecast drop in September non-farm payrolls and a decline in factory orders pulled down economically sensitive sectors like industrials and energy.
Boeing Co BA.N shares fell 1.4 percent to $51.40 and were the top drag on the Dow industrials.
Stock index futures pointed to a sharp drop at the open after the monthly payrolls report, but declines early in the regular session were not as dramatic.
“We opened down on the (payrolls) headline miss, but you saw buyers looking to buy the weakness after the Dow yesterday being down 200 points and 100 more today on the payroll news,” said Michael James, senior trader at Wedbush Morgan in Los Angeles.
The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI fell 21.61 points, or 0.23 percent, to close at 9,487.67. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index .SPX dropped 4.64 points, or 0.45 percent, to 1,025.21. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC lost 9.37 points, or 0.46 percent, to 2,048.11.
Stocks had their second-straight week of losses and the blue-chip Dow had its biggest weekly percentage decline in three months.
More downbeat news came from General Electric Co GE.N, which slid 3.8 percent to $15.36 after the Dow component's chief executive said GE was holding discussions on partnerships or an initial public offering for its NBC Universal unit.
But a bright spot came from UBS' and Morgan Stanley's price target hike for Apple Inc AAPL.O, which trimmed tech stocks' losses. Apple shares gained 2.2 percent to $184.90 on Nasdaq after UBS upgraded its stock to "buy" and hiked its price target by 56 percent to $265.
An S&P index of consumer staples .GSPS, up 0.56 percent, was the only positive S&P 500 sector. The sector was buoyed by a 4.2 percent gain in PepsiCo Inc PEP.N, which closed at $60.90 on the New York Stock Exchange after Deutsche Bank raised its price target on the soft drink company's stock.
Volume was below average on the New York Stock Exchange, with 1.40 billion shares changing hands, less than last year’s estimated daily average of 1.49 billion. But on the Nasdaq, about 2.47 billion shares traded, above last year’s daily average of 2.28 billion.
Declining stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a ratio of about 2 to 1, while on the Nasdaq about nine stocks fell for every five that rose.
Editing by Kenneth Barry
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