U.S. stocks retreated on Friday after Sun Microsystems Inc.'s disappointing results weighted on the technology sector and surging oil prices overshadowed a better-than-expected April jobs report.
Sun Microsystems Inc., the fourth-largest maker of server computers, plunged the most in six years. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and IBM Corp. pushed the blue-chip lower, with the discount retailer off 1.3 percent and IBM down 1 percent. Retailers, including Gap Inc. and Target Corp. were hard hit as oil soared more than $3 a barrel on Turkey's military offensive against Kurdish rebels in Iraq.
As of 1:55 p.m. EST, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 20.93 points, or 0.16 percent to 13,030.93, the Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 1.93 points, or 0.14 percent to 1411.27 and the Nasdaq Composite Index declined 11.60 points, or 0.47 percent, to 2469.11.
Stocks jumped at the opening bell on April's employment report, which beat Wall Street's expectations. The Labor Department reported the nation lost 20,000 jobs in April, lower than analysts' prediction of a 75,000-job decline.
The government also said the nation's unemployment rate declined to 5 percent from 5.1 percent. Wall Street had been expecting the rate to increase to 5.2 percent.
Sun Microsystems led the tech sector down, with its shares plunging 21.9 after the server-and-software maker reported late Thursday a third-quarter loss of $34 million and only broke even before one-off costs. Shares were down $2.72 or 22.8 percent to $12.61.
Viacom reported a 33 percent quarterly profit rise despite the writers strike. The media giant, which owns MTV and Nickelodeon, reported a first-quarter profit of 42 cents a share, compared with 29 cents a share from a year ago. Although results topped analyst estimates, the company's shares were little moved. Shares edged up 37 cents or 0.39 percent to $95.31.
Oil giant Chevron beat estimates with a 9.5 percent increase in first-quarter profit due to soaring oil prices. The company's shares were up 45 cents or 0.47 percent.