US stocks retreat on soft data, oil decline

New York, April 5 (IANS) US stocks ended lower amid falling oil on Monday, as the country’s factory orders came out weaker than expected.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 55.75 points, or 0.31 percent, to 17,737.00 on Monday, Xinhua news agency reported.

The S&P 500 lost 6.65 points, or 0.32 percent, to 2,066.13. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 22.75 points, or 0.46 percent, to 4,891.79.

US new orders for manufactured goods in February, down three of the last four months, decreased $8.0 billion or 1.7 percent to $454.0 billion, the Commerce Department reported on Monday.

Oil prices reversed early gains to end sharply lower on Monday, with both US oil and Brent crude tumbling over 2 percent, as traders wondered whether top oil exporters could agree to rein in overproduction.

Meanwhile, Wall Street was still sifting through Friday’s key jobs data. US total nonfarm payroll employment rose 215,000 in March, beating market consensus of 210,000, the Labor Department announced on Friday.

The unemployment rate in March edged up to 5.0 percent from February’s reading of 4.9 percent.

US stocks reversed early losses to close higher Friday after the better-than-expected jobs data. For last week, all three major indices posted solid gains, with the Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq surging 1.6 percent, 1.8 percent and 3.0 percent, respectively.

Overseas, European equities rallied on Monday despite oil weakness. German benchmark DAX index at Frankfurt Stock Exchange rose 0.28 percent, while British benchmark FTSE 100 Index added 0.30 percent.

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