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Stocks Fall Amid Profit-Taking; Tech Sector Tumbles

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. markets close lower Friday and technology stocks tumbled as investors took profits after a week when the S&P 500 hit new records. The monthly U.S. jobs report showed signs that the labor market was beginning to shake off the effects of the winter chill.

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average was off 0.94% to 16,417.59, while the S&P 500 shedding 1.25% to 1,865.09. The Nasdaq was 2.6% lower to 4,127.73.
  • The government jobs report for March showed a good pace of job creation with an addition of 192,000 jobs vs. the average economist's estimate of 200,000 jobs. The February figure was revised up to 197,000. The jobless rate remained at 6.7%; a dip to 6.6% was expected.
  • "Overall, now that the weather-related weakness is behind us, we anticipate monthly gains in payroll employment will remain close to the 200,000 mark, driving the unemployment rate gradually lower and allowing the Fed to continue winding down its monthly asset purchases," said Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics. Other strategists noted that a "good but not great" jobs report would likely be received positively by investors as it gave the Fed Reserve breathing room on its tapering timeline.
  • "The market trajectory has been north so we're just seeing a bit of profit taking ahead of first quarter results," Brownstone Investment Group head of trading Jon Sablowsky said in a phone interview on Friday.
  • In international markets, the FTSE 100 closed up 0.7% and the DAX in Germany finished 0.7% higher. The Nikkei 225 in Japan settled down 0.05% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed down 0.24%.
  • U.S. stocks fell Thursday as jobs growth in the service sector hit its lowest level in a year and unemployment claims rose. The S&P 500 continues to sit near record highs, gaining 1.7% over the week after closing at a new record high on April 2.
  • In stock news, Mylan (MYL - Get Report) added 1.5% after The Wall Street Journal reported that the company is looking at buying Swedish drug maker Meda. Top losers in the S&P 500 included E*Trade (ETFC), off 7.8%, along with Intuitive Surgical (ISRG) and Acxiom (ACXM) down 6.5% and 6.1%, respectively. Carmax (KMX) shares shed 4.2% after the company reported that revenue rose but it came in below analysts' estimates. The company also announced that it has hiked its share-buyback program by $1 billion. GrubHub (GRUB - Get Report) rallied 30% in its IPO after raising a higher-than-expected $192 million.

-- By Jane Searle, Andrea Tse and Joe Deaux in New York

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