Stocks finished lower Friday. The Dow fell 22 points to 25,450 while the S&P 500 lost 5 points to 2,743. The Nasdaq Composite declined 13 points to 7,408.
The major averages experienced their worst week of 2019 as investors assessed economic data updates. For the week, the Dow and S&P 500 both lost 2.2%. The Nasdaq snapped its 10-week winning streak, falling 2.5%. On the data front, non-farm payrolls increased by 20,000 in February, well below consensus expectations of 180,000 and the weakest reading since September 2017. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate eased to 3.8%, near a five-decade low. Average hourly earnings advanced at a 3.4% annualized rate, the strongest pace in ten years. In a separate update, U.S. housing starts jumped 18.6% month-over-month in January. A disappointing update out of China also weighed on investor sentiment after a survey revealed Chinese exports tumbled 20% in February.
Six of 11 S&P 500 sectors finished in negative territory with Energy stocks leading the decline in sympathy with lower oil prices. Consumer Staples finished higher with Costco adding 5.1% to $227.82 after topping Wall Street profit projections. In other corporate news, shares of Netflix lost 0.9% to $349.60 following an analyst downgrade.
Breadth was negative on issues by 4:3 on the NYSE and by 7:6 on the Nasdaq. Composite NYSE volume was more than 3.4 billion shares.
Treasuries strengthened with the yield on the 10-year note down one basis point to 2.63%. In commodities, NYMEX WTI crude slipped 1.0% to $56.12/barrel. COMEX gold added 1.2% to $1,300.90/ounce amid a weaker dollar.