Stocks fell for the fourth straight day on Friday as weak jobs data gave more evidence the economic recovery would be less robust than expected.

The much bigger-than-forecast drop in September non-farm payrolls and a decline in factory orders pulled down economically sensitive sectors like industrials and energy. Boeing Co shares fell 1.4 percent to $51.40 and were the top drag on the Dow industrials.

U.S. crude oil futures fell 87 cents, or 1.2 percent, to settle at $69.95 per barrel, prompting investors to sell some shares of Chevron and Exxon Mobil , both down 1 percent.

The major U.S. indexes' decline for the day notwithstanding, the market's initial reaction to the surprising reduction in payrolls pointed to a much deeper drop in stocks. Earlier, the indexes fell nearly 1 percent when they hit session lows after the monthly payrolls report.

There's general disappointment with the data, but employment is a lagging indicator and it won't surprise anyone that it's going to be the last to recover. The data was priced in, for the most part. said Henry Smith, chief investment officer at Haverford Trust Co in Philadelphia.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> fell 21.61 points, or 0.23 percent, to end at 9,487.67. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> dropped 4.64 points, or 0.45 percent, to 1,025.21. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> lost 9.37 points, or 0.46 percent, to 2,048.11.

Another downbeat note came from General Electric Co , which slid 3.8 percent to $15.36 after the Dow component's chief executive said GE was holding discussions on partnerships or an initial public offering for its NBC Universal unit.

But a bright spot came from UBS' and Morgan Stanley's price target hike for Apple Inc , which trimmed tech stocks' losses. Apple shares gained 2.2 percent to $184.90 on Nasdaq after UBS upgraded its stock to buy and hiked its price target by 56 percent to $265.

An S&P index of consumer staples <.GSPS>, up 0.6 percent, was the only positive S&P 50O sector. The sector was buoyed by a 4.2 percent gain in PepsiCo Inc

, which closed at $60.90 on the New York Stock Exchange, after Deutsche Bank raised its price target on the soft drink company's stock.

(Editing by Jan Paschal)