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Stocks end lower after disappointing jobs report

| Friday, April 5, 2013, 5:06 p.m.

NEW YORK — Stocks fell on Wall Street Friday after the government reported that employers added the fewest jobs in nine months in March and more people gave up looking for work.

The Dow Jones industrial average ended 40.86 points lower at 14,565.25, a loss of 0.3 percent. The index was down as much as 171 points in the early going. It rose gradually throughout the day to reclaim much of its early loss.

Employers added just 88,000 jobs in March, according to the Labor Department's monthly survey. That's half the pace of the previous six months. The report was far worse than economists had forecast and a disappointment for investors following positive signs on housing and the job market over the winter.

In other trading, the Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 6.70 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,553.28. The index logged its worst week of year, falling 1 percent.

Technology stocks fell the most of the 10 industry groups in the index, dropping 1 percent. Among big decliners in tech stocks, Cisco Systems fell 43 cents, or 2 percent, to $20.61. Oracle dropped 34 cents, or 1 percent, to $32.03.

Investors were reducing their exposure to risk.

The utilities and telecommunications industries bucked the downward trend in the market. Both rose 0.4 percent. The rich dividends and stable earnings provided by those companies make them attractive to investors who want to play it safe.

Natural gas companies were among the best performers on the S&P 500 as the price of the fuel rose 4.5 percent on concerns about supplies. The price of the fuel has risen 21 percent since the start of the year.

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