U.S. stock indices fell on Friday with technology stocks leading declines.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 211.82 points, or 1.3%, to 16,204.83 (-1.6% over the week). The S&P 500 lost 35.40 points, or 1.9%, to 1,880.05 (-3.1% over the week). The Nasdaq Composite dropped 146.41 points, or 3.3%, to 4,363.14 (-5.4% over the week).
The U.S. Labor Department reported on Friday that the country's economy created 151,000 jobs in January, while economists had expected 190,000 new jobs. Nevertheless the unemployment rate fell to 4.9% from 5%. Average hourly earnings rose by 0.5% m/m and 2.5% y/y. On the whole the report was strong despite weaker jobs creation. It reminded market participants that a rate hike in March was still possible. Fed officials will also study February report before they hold a meeting in March.
This morning in Asia the Nikkei climbed 0.84%, or 141.68, to 16,961.27. Markets in China and Hong Kong are closed due to Lunar New Year.
Japanese stocks declined at the beginning of the session amid a stronger yen. Last week Japanese currency gained 3.6% marking the fastest weekly growth since July 2009. However later stocks advanced as the yen declined slightly after data showed that Japan's current account came in at ¥960.7 billion in December vs ¥987.0 billion expected and ¥1,143.5 billion recorded previously.