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Dow edges down from record after solid US jobs report

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[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks finished little changed Friday, with the Dow retreating slightly from a record, after US unemployment hit a nine-year low.

The jobless rate fell three-tenths to 4.6 per cent in November, with a solid 178,000 net new positions created, the Department of Labor reported. Analysts said the figures were likely strong enough to keep the Federal Reserve on track to hike interest rates later this month.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 0.1 per cent to 19,170.42.

The broad-based S&P 500 ended up a hair at 2,191.95, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.1 per cent to 5,255.65.

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Analysts said profit-taking drove declines in some sectors that have soared since the November 8 US elections. Banks fell, with Goldman Sachs losing 1.4 per cent and Citigroup 2.2 per cent.

Media stocks were generally lower, with Comcast losing 1.6 per cent and Twenty-First Century Fox 2.8 per cent. Disney and CBS also fell.

Starbucks dropped 2.2 per cent after it announced Thursday that Howard Schultz was stepping down as chief executive early next year, to be replaced by president and chief operating officer Kevin Johnson. Mr Schultz will stay on as executive chairman and chairman of the board and will build up the company's superpremium coffee shop business.

Gap fell 3.0 per cent after reporting that November comparable sales fell 1 per cent. The apparel chain said trends remained challenging, but sales improved in the latter part of the month as the holiday shopping season kicked off.

Gunmaker Smith & Wesson plunged 12.0 per cent after it projected lower-than-expected profits in the fourth quarter. Analysts said the election of gun-rights supporter Donald Trump as US president would lessen the urgency for purchases.

AFP

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