The Straits Times
Published on Nov 02, 2012

Wall St ticks lower despite strong jobs numbers


NEW YORK (REUTERS) - US stocks edged lower on Friday, erasing earlier gains spurred by a stronger-than-expected payroll report, as they were pressured by weakness in energy and materials shares.

Employers added 171,000 to their payrolls last month, the Labour Department said . The number outpaced forecasts, and the government also said 84,000 more jobs were created in August and September than initially estimated. Still, sustained job gains of this magnitude would only bring the unemployment rate down slowly.

"The report itself was good, but just not good enough, especially after the pre-rally we had yesterday," said Mr Todd Schoenberger, managing principal at the BlackBay Group in New York, referring to a 1.1 per cent surge in the S&P on Thursday, the index's best day since Sept 13.

The latest jobs report - the last one before the US presidential election on Tuesday - could boost President Barack Obama's fortunes at the ballot box, though polls continued to indicate a close race between Mr Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney.