S&P 500 streak ends on weak US jobs report

VIDEO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (AFP) - The Dow and S&P 500 both slipped from record all-time highs on Friday (Oct 6) after the Department of Labour reported the US lost 33,000 jobs last month.

The dreary headline figure was the result of a sharp slowdown in economic activity in regions hit by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Other aspects of the report were favorable, with hourly wages rising and unemployment falling from 4.4 to 4.2 per cent.

Analysts said last month's data should be taken with a grain of salt.

"Sometimes you have to just sit back and relax, and this is one of those times," said economist Joel Naroff. "The decline in the number of jobs was a direct result of the hurricanes, and next month we are likely to see things turn around, probably with a vengeance."

The broad-based S&P 500 fell 0.1 per cent to 2,549.33, snapping a six-day streak of record peaks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped a hair to 22,773.67, also pulling back from a record, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.1 per cent to 6,590.18, finishing at a record for the sixth straight session.

Big box retailers were pressured after analysts said Costco Wholesale's profit margins for the fourth quarter missed expectations despite higher sales and profits. Costco slumped 6 per cent, while Wal-Mart Stores lost 0.5 per cent and Target dropped 2.2 per cent.

Pharmacy chains CVS Health and Walgreens Boots Alliance both fell almost 5 per cent on speculation that Amazon will soon enter the retail segment.

Petroleum-linked shares fell with oil prices. Dow member Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Apache all lost more than 1 per cent.