Stocks Plunge as Jobs Data Disappoints

U.S. stocks opened sharply lower on Friday as a new government report revealed that American employers added no jobs in August and Federal agency will reportedly sue big banks over mortgages. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 234.01 points to 11,259.56. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index declined 26.95 points to 1,177.47. The Nasdaq Composite Index shed 55.33 points to 2,490.71.

Employers stopped adding jobs in August, an alarming setback for an economy that has struggled to grow and might be at risk of another recession. The government also reported that the unemployment rate remained at 9.1 percent. It was the weakest jobs report since September 2010.

A federal U.S. agency is ready to sue more than a dozen major banks, arguing that they misrepresented the quality of mortgage securities they put together and sold in the run-up to the bursting of the housing bubble, according to a published report.

Business leaders and finance experts gathered in Italy offered a downbeat assessment of the global economy Friday — with several predicting another recession due to a calamitous cocktail of sluggish growth, eurozone dysfunction, and financial market volatility.

Campbell Soup Co.(CPB)’s fiscal fourth-quarter profit slipped 12 percent, weighed down by restructuring charges. But the food maker’s adjusted results reported Friday surpassed Wall Street’s expectations, and its fiscal 2012 earnings guidance is expected to meet or beat analysts’ estimates.

Clothing and fragrance company Liz Claiborne Inc.(LIZ) is selling its Mexx business to a joint venture led by the private equity firm The Gores Group as part of its plan to reduce its debt. Liz Claiborne will get $85 million and an 18.75 percent equity stake in the joint venture, according to the announcement on Friday. The Gores Group, based in Los Angeles, will own an 81.25 percent interest.

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