Stocks Opened Lower as Jobs Report Disappointed

U.S. stocks opened lower on Friday, after official employment report came in below expectations. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lately dropped 16.23 points, or 0.09%, to 17,644.48. The S&P 500 fell 1.91 points, or 0.09%, to 2,048.72. The Nasdaq Composite was down 9.50 points, or 0.20%, to 4,707.60.

The U.S. economy added the fewest number of jobs in seven months in April and Americans dropped out of the labor force in droves, signs of weakness that cast doubts on whether the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates before the end of the year. Nonfarm payrolls increased by 160,000 jobs last month as construction employment barely rose and the retail sector shed jobs, the Labor Department said on Friday.

Rio Tinto PLC has signed off on a $5.3 billion expansion of a Mongolian copper mine that will ease the mining giant’s reliance on iron ore for profits and become one of the world’s biggest sources of the industrial metal.

Department store operator J.C. Penney Co Inc faced “an expense challenge” in April and in response cut payroll, froze overtime for its employees and took other cost-cutting measures, the New York Post reported.

Oil prices fell on Friday as investors cashed in on a 20-percent rise over the past month, outweighing the impact of crude production cuts in Canada where a huge wildfire has disrupted oil sands operations. Brent futures were down 24 cents at $44.77 a barrel at 0848 GMT. WTI futures traded at $44.07, down 25 cents day on day.

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