Updated from 2:55 p.m. EST

Financial stocks continued their seemingly endless slide Friday, as the economy lost another 651,000 jobs and Wells Fargo ( WFC) became the latest big bank to slash its dividend to preserve capital.

Wells Fargo slashed its dividend to 5 cents a share from 34 cents, enabling the bank to retain an additional $5 billion in common equity in 2009. It follows similar recent moves by US Bancorp ( USB), JPMorgan Chase ( JPM), Citigroup ( C) and PNC Financial Group ( PNC).

Still, Wells But President and CEO John Stumpf said operating results at the bank for the first two months of the year are "strong," and shares rose 6% to $8.61.

The dismal, but expected, jobs report was weighing on stocks in general. Nonfarm payrolls were falling by 651,000 and unemployment reached 8.1%, the highest level since 1983.

JPMorgan Chase shares fell 4% to $15.93. US Bancorp was off 2.1% to $8.82. PNC shares lost 7.5% to $18.51. Citi, which briefly dipped below $1 in trading Thursday, was flat at $1.03.

Bank of America ( BAC) was off 1% to $3.14.

American Express ( AXP) fell as low as $9.71, which it last traded at 14 years ago, but more recently was down 0.7% to $10.26.

The NYSE Financial Sector Index was down 0.8% to 2,130.
This article was written by a staff member of TheStreet.com.

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