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US: Stocks decline on payrolls report


[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks opened lower on Friday after the Labor Department reported that the US added a strong 295,000 jobs in February, sending the unemployment rate down to 5.5 per cent.

Six minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 18,038.30, down 97.42 points.

The broad-based S&P 500 fell 8.36 to 2,092.68, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index lost 10.04 at 4,972.76.

Analysts said the strong jobs report could hasten moves by the US central bank to raise interest rates.

The jobs report "may be fostering concerns about a sooner-than-expected rate hike from the Federal Reserve," said an investment note from Charles Schwab.