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Stocks Drop as Jobs Pop Is Offset by Troubling Details

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stocks closed lower Friday, erasing early gains after April's jobs report showed a falling work force participation rate. The United Nations held an emergency meeting over Ukraine as tensions rose in the region.  

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.28% to 16,512.89, while the S&P 500 was 0.13% lower to 1,881.14. The Nasdaq dropped 0.09% to 4,123.90. The Dow, S&P and Nasdaq for the week gained 0.93%, 0.95% and 1.19%, respectively.
  • The U.S. created 288,000 jobs in April vs. the average economist's estimate of 210,000, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. The jobless rate fell to 6.3% vs. expectations of a fall to 6.6%. But commentators pointed to the report's details. "The sharp drop in joblessness must be taken with a pinch of salt as the cast of unemployed did not necessarily find work -- they may have simply stopped looking," Interactive Brokers chief market analyst Andrew Wilkinson told clients. "Proving the case is the drop in the participation rate to 62.8% from 63.2%."
  • The United Nations Security Council was holding an emergency meeting after Russia's request. Ukraine tensions continued as the country sent armored vehicles to retake a city which is a stronghold for pro-separatist forces. President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned Russia on  Friday not to disrupt the this month's presidential elections in Ukraine.
  • March factory orders increased 1.1% in March, below forecasts for a 1.5% advance.
  • Marsh & McLennan (MMC) dropped 1.4% after first-quarter earnings of 81 cents a share topped expectations by a penny.
  • Chevron (CVX) was off 0.18% after it said earnings fell 27% in the first quarter due to lower oil prices and bad weather.
  • LinkedIn (LNKD) shed 8.4% after issuing guidance on Thursday short of analysts' estimates after it said it swung to a loss in the first quarter ended in March.
  • AstraZeneca (AZN) edged 0.09% lower after rejecting Pfizer's (PFE) sweetened bid that values AstraZeneca at $106 billion.
  • Merck (MRK) shares slid 2.4%. The stock was also being closely watched as the FDA asks a panel of advisers to vote on Friday on whether Singulair is safe enough to be approved for nonprescription use. Bloomberg reported that Bayer is in exclusive talks to acquire Merck's consumer business and is prepared to pay about $14 billion for the division.
  • The euro-area unemployment rate remained at a near record high in March, with a jobless rate of 11.8%, the European Union's statistics office said Friday. Germany's DAX closed 0.49% lower while the FTSE was 0.2% higher. The Hang Seng closed 0.57% higher while the Nikkei was 0.19% lower.

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

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