U.S. stocks declined in early trade on Friday as weaker-than-expected monthly non-farm payrolls and unemployment data weighed on the sentiment.
The S&P 500 Index declined 2.39 points, or 0.18 percent, to trade at 1,219.34 at 9:55 a.m. EDT. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 12.14 points, or 0.11 percent, to trade at 11,350.27. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.03 percent.
The Labor Department reported that the unemployment rate in the U.S. unexpectedly edged up to 9.8 percent in November after remaining constant for three months at 9.6 percent.
Expectations had gotten high after the ADP National Employment Report on Wednesday stated that the private sector added about 93,000 jobs in November. But nonfarm payrolls rose by only 39,000 jobs in November compared to upwardly revised 172,000 jobs gained in October, and far below analysts’ estimation of 140,000 jobs.
Shares of Big Lots Inc. declined 3.25 percent as the company reported weaker than expected third quarter profit and cut its forecast for the year.
Among the Dow components, Exxon Mobil declined 0.59 percent, Wal-Mart fell 0.42 percent and Bank of America declined 1.03 percent.
The euro advanced 1.21 percent to 1.3370 against the dollar and the yen gained 1.29 percent against the greenback.
Crude oil futures declined 0.38 percent to $87.67/barrel and gold futures rose 0.81 percent.
European stock markets declined after U.S. jobs data and are currently trading lower with FTSE100 down by 23.83 points, DAX30 down by 19.47 points and CAC 40 down by 8.98 points.