Wall Street ended a dismal week with its third straight decline Friday after oil prices jumped on word of a possible string of attacks in Nigeria near production facilities.
NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street ended a dismal week with its third straight decline Friday after oil prices jumped on word of a possible string of attacks in Nigeria near production facilities. The rise in oil prices sapped enthusiasm over a Labor Department report that the nation’s unemployment rate fell to a five-year low.
The Dow Jones industrial average logged its first six-day consecutive drop since June 2005 after light, sweet crude rose $1.27 to $59.15 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. U.S. diplomats in Nigeria warned that militants are planning a series of kidnappings and bombing attacks in the coming days in areas where oil is extracted.
The Labor Department said the unemployment rate fell to 4.4 percent last month from 4.6 percent in September, easing some concerns that the economy has slowed too quickly. For more than a week, investors have been nervous about the strength of the economy following a stream of disappointing data. While Wall Street wants growth to cool so the threat of inflation will dissipate and the Federal Reserve can cut interest rates, a precipitous slowdown could slice into consumer spending and corporate profits.
Alan Gayle, senior investment strategist and director of asset allocation for Trusco Capital Management, said the employment figures suggest the economy has more power than expected going into the holiday spending season but warned that the strength could make the Fed uneasy. “Investors have to digest the notion that the Fed is going to remain poised to lift interest rates as we go into 2007.”
According to preliminary calculations, the Dow closed down 32.50, or 0.27 percent, at 11,986.04.
Broader stock indicators were also moved lower. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index closed down 3.04, or 0.22 percent, to 1,364.30, and the Nasdaq composite index fell 3.23, or 0.14 percent, to 2,330.79.