Stocks Ended Volatile Week Lower

U.S. stocks ended a volatile week on a down note Friday as December’s jobs report gave a mixed view of the economy and energy stocks fell alongside another drop in crude oil prices. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 170.50 points, or 0.95%, to 17,737.37. The S&P 500 lost 17.33 points, or 0.84%, to 2,044.81. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 32.12 points, or 0.68%, to 4,704.07. For the week, the Dow fell 0.5 percent, the S&P 500 fell 0.6 percent and the Nasdaq
lost 0.5 percent.

U.S. job growth increased briskly in December, positioning the economy for a sturdy pace of expansion this year and keeping the Federal Reserve on course to start raising interest rates. Nonfarm payrolls increased 252,000 last month after an upwardly revised 353,000 jump in November, the Labor Department said on Friday.

One of the major disappointments in the jobs report was the data on wages in December. Average hourly earnings fell 0.2% — against forecasts for a rise of 0.2% — to slow the year-on-year gain to 1.7%. That was the first drop since July 2013.

Oil futures fell Friday, extending losses to a seventh week in a row. Light, sweet crude for delivery in February lost 43 cents, or 0.9%, to settle at $48.36 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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