US stocks have pared back sharp losses as traders digested a surprisingly weak March labour report and watched rising global tensions with North Korea.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 40.86 points (0.28 per cent) to 14,565.25.
The broad-based S&P 500 slid 6.70 (0.43 per cent) to 1,553.28, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index shed 21.12 (0.65 per cent) at 3203.86.
The main indices had plunged in opening trade, shedding more than 1.0 per cent, reeling from jobs data that came in far below expectations.
The Labor Department reported the US added only 88,000 nonfarm jobs in March, a third of the February gain and the slowest jobs growth in nine months.
Employment growth tanked far below the average analyst estimate of 192,000 jobs.
The Labor Department also reported the unemployment rate ticked down 7.6 per cent from 7.7 per cent in February, due to people dropping out of the workforce.
The pullback in jobs gains "was simply awful," said Fred Dickson, chief investment strategist at DA Davidson & Co.
"This piece of economic data adds some uncertainty regarding an economic surge needed near-term to push stock prices meaningfully higher."
Market sentiment was also under pressure from the worries regarding North Korean intentions after reports indicated Pyongyang had ordered two missiles to be relocated to North Korea's east coast, Briefing.com said.
Financials and tech stocks were under pressure. On the Dow, American Express slid 2.8 per cent, IBM fell 0.9 per cent and United Technologies was down 0.6 per cent.
Blue-chip Microsoft reversed losses and gained 0.4 per cent.
Oil majors Chevron and ExxonMobil fell 0.5 per cent and 0.9 per cent respectively.
Dow member Hewlett-Packard shed 1.5 per cent after announcing its non-executive chairman Raymond Lane has decided to step down in a shakeup of the board of directors at the struggling US computer giant.
On the Nasdaq, heavyweight Apple fell 1.1 per cent
Wall Street stocks had scored modest gains Thursday after the Bank of Japan's monetary stimulus plan boosted sentiment. The Dow rose 0.38 per cent, the S&P 500 added 0.40 per cent and the Nasdaq climbed 0.20 per cent.
Bond prices soared. The yield on the 10-year Treasury plummeted to 1.69 per cent from 1.76 per cent Thursday, while the 30-year yield skidded to 2.86 per cent from 2.99 per cent.
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