NEW YORK, Nov 5 – US stock markets opened slightly lower on Friday a day after making stellar gains and as traders took in data showing the economy created many more jobs than expected last month.
The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 15.44 points (0.14 percent) to 11,419.40 in opening trades, a day after reaching a level it last held before the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008 on the back of a new massive government stimulus plan.
The broader S&P 500 index lost 0.42 points (0.03 percent) to 1,220.75, while the tech-rich Nasdaq composite index was down 2.78 points (0.11 percent) to 2,574.56.
Shortly before markets opened, the Labor Department reported that 151,000 new jobs were created in the United States in October, much better than expected, while the unemployment rate was unchanged at 9.6 percent for the third consecutive month.
The jobless rate matched expectations, while the number of new jobs was more than double the 60,000 forecast by most analysts.
Driving the robust nonfarm payrolls number were job gains in mining and some service-providing industries, the Labor Department said.
"Where things go today is anyone\’s best guess. There will be an employment report to digest; and it is not unusual for the market to experience some consolidative action after such a strong move higher," said Patrick O\’Hare of Briefing.com.
On Thursday, stock indexes soared as traders took in the previous days\’ decision by the Federal Reserve to pump 600 billion dollars into the markets in a bid to boost the sluggish economic recovery.