United States stocks close lower after strong jobs report

Shares of Exxon Mobil dropped 5.10 per cent to close at $84.53 apiece after it reported weaker-than-expected earnings on Friday. Apple fell on concerns about iPhone sales.

The plunge comes after record-breaking stock market gains under President Trump's first year in office. For the week, the Dow and the TSX are down by about four per cent.

Even after the selloff this week, the S&P 500 is up 3.3 percent for this year and that is on top of a 19.4-percent gain for 2017.

The eight other times the Dow closed more than 600 points lower all took place in the last 18 years. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gave up 32.59 points, or 2.1 per cent, to 1,547.27.

This week's market pullback has come even as US economic data continues to reflect strong growth.

BOND YIELDS: Bond prices declined again Friday.

The yield on the key 10-year Treasury spooked markets by reaching new highs at 2.84 percent.

Interest rates recently have leapt sharply higher.

"Once we started going north of 2.5 per cent, and you put that together with an overbought market, it had the ingredients of a sell-off, especially since January was so strong", said Jeff Zipper, regional investment strategist at U.S. Bank Private Wealth Management. Investors have started to factor in what appears to be a long-awaited move higher in interest rates, which are tied to an improving economy. The government's latest job and wage data stoked those concerns Friday. Experts have disputed Trump's assertions, arguing that the growth is consistent with a years-long economic upswing. Wall Street observers have continued to number of culprits conspiring against the bull market, including investors taking some chips off the table. "It is hard to argue against a March Fed rate hike now", said James Knightley, chief worldwide economist at ING Bank.

That is not to say the market is collapsing.

For the week, the Dow fell 4%, while the Nasdaq and S&P 500 each slipped by more than 3%.

Adding to the pressure were disappointing earnings reports from major companies. Both companies released quarterly results that missed expectations. Shares in Exxon shed $4.54 to $84.53.

The Baker Hughes rig count increased to 1,288 from 1,285. Amazon shares gained $39.95 to $1,429.95.

Benchmark U.S. crude slid 41 cents to $65.39 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price global oils, fell $1.07, or 1.5 per cent, to close at $68.58 a barrel in London.

The S&P/TSX composite index fell 254.89 points to 15,606.03 today.

The British pound fell 1 percent to $1.4123.

Gold posted the biggest weekly drop since early December.

The stronger picture for economic growth in the U.S. also triggered a rally for the dollar on worldwide exchanges, with the pound falling by about 1% against the American currency.

The dollar index, tracking the unit against a basket of major currencies, rose 0.72 per cent, with the euro down 0.64 per cent to $1.2428. In the three weeks through January 24, investors have pushed a net $18.3 billion into USA stock funds this year, according to estimates from the Investment Company Institute.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 0.7 percent.

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