March 8, 2019 / 7:36 PM / 4 months ago

US STOCKS-Wall St slides for 5th straight day after weak U.S. jobs report

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* Meager 20,000 U.S. jobs added in February

* Dow transports on track for 11th straight daily drop

* All 11 sectors in negative territory, energy falls most

* Tech giants fall as Sen. Warren calls for breakups

* Indexes down: Dow 0.59 pct, S&P 500 0.76 pct, Nasdaq 0.72 pct (Updates to late afternoon)

By Lewis Krauskopf

March 8 (Reuters) - Wall Street’s main indexes fell for a fifth straight session on Friday, as a weak U.S. jobs report ignited more concerns about the global economy.

U.S. employment growth almost stalled in February, with the economy creating only 20,000 jobs, adding to signs of a sharp slowdown in economic activity in the first quarter. The payroll gains reported by the Labor Department were the weakest since September 2017.

The weak U.S. report added to economic fears also fanned by a sharp fall in China’s exports and after the European Central Bank slashed growth forecasts for the region on Thursday.

“People are worried about the jobs report and global growth in general and that is pushing markets lower,” said Brent Schutte, chief investment strategist at Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company in Milwaukee.

But Schutte added, “To me, the jobs number is not a sign of impending doom...I think the jobs report is heavily affected by the government shutdown and other seasonal distortions.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 150.33 points, or 0.59 percent, to 25,322.9, the S&P 500 lost 20.94 points, or 0.76 percent, to 2,727.99 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 53.70 points, or 0.72 percent, to 7,367.77.

The S&P 500 hit its lowest point in nearly a month.

The closely watched Dow Jones Transport Average was off 1.2 percent, falling for an 11th straight session.

The recent pullback has paused a rally to start 2019 that has been fueled by optimism over a U.S.-China trade deal and by beliefs the Federal Reserve will be less aggressive in raising interest rates. The S&P 500 remains up about 9 percent this year.

“In the first part of the year, what we have largely done is clawed back what we lost in the fourth quarter that was based upon geopolitical and Federal Reserve fears that are now ebbing,” Schutte said.

All 11 major S&P 500 sectors were in negative territory, with energy down the most, declining 2.4 percent as oil prices also fell.

Exxon Mobil shares dropped 1.8 percent and were among the biggest drags on the S&P.

Shares of Inc, Google parent Alphabet Inc and Facebook Inc fell as Senator Elizabeth Warren vowed to break up the three companies if elected U.S. president to promote competition in the tech sector.

Amazon shares fell 0.9 percent, Alphabet dropped 0.8 percent and Facebook was off 0.5 percent.

In other corporate news, Costco Wholesale shares rose 4.7 percent after the warehouse club operator’s quarterly profit topped estimates.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.89-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.50-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 5 new 52-week highs and 5 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 24 new highs and 49 new lows. (Additional reporting by Medha Singh and Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Diane Craft)

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