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US: Stocks fall again as bond yields surge

[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks fell for a second straight session on Friday on worries about runaway inflation spurred by the sudden jump in US Treasury bond yields.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.7 per cent to 26,447.05.

The broad-based S&P 500 shed 0.6 per cent to 2,885.57, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index tumbled 1.2 per cent to 7,778.45.

The declines came after the US Labor Department estimated that the country added 134,000 net new positions last month, far weaker than analysts expected and a figure that was likely dented by Hurricane Florence.

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However, the unemployment rate fell to 3.7 per cent last month from 3.9 per cent, an unusually large drop and the lowest reading since December 1969.

Analysts said the bigger focus was the continued rise in the 10-year US Treasury bond yield in anticipation of more Federal Reserve interest rate hikes. The yield stood at 3.225 per cent Friday, up 0.9 per cent.

Investors fear higher costs for loans and mortgages will crimp growth.

Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B. Riley FBR, said the jump this week in yields had been "breakneck" and could be "disruptive" to stocks.

Tesla Motors slumped 7.1 per cent after Chief Executive Elon Musk mocked the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Twitter, sparking worries that an SEC settlement on fraud charges with Musk that let him remain CEO could fall apart.

Costco Wholesale dropped 5.6 per cent as it disclosed that it uncovered a "material weakness" in its controls on financial reporting. The company said it had not found any financial misstatements as a result of the flaw.

Analysts also said Costco's profit margin came in a bit lighter than expected in its quarterly results.

AFP