U.S. stocks declined in early trade on Friday despite better-than-expected monthly non-farm payrolls and unemployment data.
The S&P 500 Index declined 2.79 points, or 0.21 percent, to trade at 1,328.18 at 9:45 a.m. EDT. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 6.81 points, or 0.06 percent, to trade at 12,251.39. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 0.31 percent.
The number of unemployed people in the US fell unexpectedly in February, indicating that the labor market is strengthening. The unemployment rate fell to 8.9 percent in February from 9 percent in January, while markets had expected the jobless rate to rise to 9.1 percent in the month. February’s decline in unemployment rate was the third consecutive monthly decrease.
Separately, the labor department data showed that nonfarm payroll employment rose by 192,000 in February, while the markets had expected an increase of 180,000.
On the corporate front, shares of Marvell Technology Group Ltd. (NASDAQ:MRVL) plunged 8.29 percent as its fourth quarter earnings and revenue missed Street view.
Capital One Financial Corp. (NYSE:COF) shares gained 1.08 percent. The company stock was upgraded to “overweight” rating from “equal weight” rating at Morgan Stanley.
Stocks ended sharply higher on Thursday as stronger than expected initial jobless claims data and an easing of oil prices after reports of a possible peace deal in Libya buoyed sentiment.
The euro advanced 0.17 percent to 1.3993 against the dollar and the yen gained 0.02 percent against the greenback.
Crude oil futures gained 1.48 percent to $103.42/barrel and gold futures rose 0.36 percent.
European stock markets are currently trading mixed with FTSE100 up by 25.36 points, DAX30 up by 24.62 points and CAC 40 down by 2.97 points.