Stocks Opened Lower after Robust Jobs Report

U.S. stocks opened lower on Friday, after a stronger-than-expected payrolls data. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately dropped 81.35 points, or 0.45%, to 18,054.37. The S&P 500 lost 7.22 points, or 0.34%, to 2,093.82. The Nasdaq Composite was down 7.37 points, or 0.15%, to 4,975.44.

U.S. employment accelerated in February and the jobless rate fell to 5.5 percent, signs that could encourage the Federal Reserve to consider hiking interest rates in June. Nonfarm payrolls rose 295,000 last month after rising 239,000 in January, the Labor Department said on Friday.

Staples reported a drop in sales in the fourth quarter, a decline it hopes to reverse through a merger with its rival Office Depot. In the fourth quarter, Staples said that sales fell 3.7 percent to $5.7 billion.

Brent crude oil rose toward $61 a barrel on Friday as fighting in Libya and Iraq stoked output worries, while traders kept a close eye on Iran nuclear talks that could eventually bring more supply to world markets.

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