NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Shares of energy companies fell Friday after a dismal report on U.S. job growth added to worries about a global economic slowdown.
The Labor Department said that U.S. employers created just 69,000 jobs in May, the smallest number in a year. The unemployment rate rose to 8.2 percent last month from 8.1 percent in April. It marked the first increase in 11 months.
At the same time, Europe is embedded in a financial crisis and China's government is working to prevent its economic growth from slowing too quickly.
Oil and natural gas prices fell sharply on the commodities markets after the report was released. Investors are concerned that demand for energy products may weaken in the months ahead because of the uncertainty about global economic growth.
In afternoon trading, benchmark oil fell $3.18, or 3.7 percent, to $83.35 per barrel and natural gas prices dropped 8 cents, or 3.4 percent, to $2.34 per 1,000 cubic feet in New York,
The price decline for oil extended a drop of more than 17 percent in May because of concerns about the economy. Natural gas prices have been weak most of the year because of an inventory glut and weak demand, in part the result of a mild winter.
In afternoon trading, shares of Chesapeake Energy Corp. fell 78 cents, or 4.6 percent, to $16.12; Devon Energy Corp. dropped $1.08 to $58.44; Anadarko Petroleum Corp. declined $1.93, or 3.2 percent, to $59.07; and Encana Corp. fell 51 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $20.13.
Shares of Exxon Mobil Corp. fell 35 cents to $78.28; EOG Resources Inc. plummeted $5.73, or 5.8 percent, to $93.57; ConocoPhillips dropped 71 cents to $51.45; Chevron Corp. declined $1.48 to $96.83; Marathon Oil Corp. decreased 69 cents to $24.22. BP PLC bucked the trend and was up 40 cents to $36.86.