Stocks Open Sharply Lower, Samsung’s Operating Profit Up 53%

U. S. stocks opened sharply lower on Friday after data showed American employers hired at the slowest pace in  nine months in March. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately fell 148.76 points, or 1.02%, to 14,457.35.  The S&P 500 index declined 18.00 points, or 1.15%, to 1,541.98. The Nasdaq Composite lost 48.09 points, or  1.49%, to 3,176.89.

American employers hired at the slowest pace in nine months in March. The economy added just 88,000 nonfarm  jobs last month and the jobless rate ticked a tenth of a point lower to 7.6 percent largely due to people  dropping out of the work force, Labor Department data showed on Friday.

The U.S. trade gap narrowed unexpectedly in February as crude oil imports fell to their lowest level since  March 1996 and overall exports increased slightly, a Commerce Department report on Friday showed. The  deficit narrowed to $43.0 billion, from an unrevised $44.5 billion in January.

Samsung Electronics Co. said its operating profit last quarter rose 53 percent over a year earlier,  outpacing expectations for what’s normally a slow time for consumer electronics sales. The South Korean  firm on Friday estimated its first quarter operating income at 8.7 trillion won ($7.7 billion).

Facebook Home, the new application that takes over the front screen of a smartphone, is a bit of a  corporate home invasion. Facebook is essentially moving into Google’s turf, taking advantage of software  the search giant and competitor created.

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