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  • Dow Jones Industrial Average down 274.88 (-2.22%) to 12,118.57
  • S&P 500 down 32.29 (-2.46%) to 1,278.04
  • Nasdaq Composite Index down 79.86 (-2.82%) to 2,747.48

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

  • Hang Seng Index down 0.38%
  • Shanghai China Composite Index up 0.05%
  • FTSE 100 down 1.14%

Stocks finished near their lows for the session, extending their decline for a third day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell over 2% today to wipe out all of its 2012 gains as U.S. jobs growth during May slowed to its smallest increase in a year. Equities also labored under a plethora of weak economic data points today from the U.S. and elsewhere in the world, including manufacturing growth in China slowing to a near crawl. All 10 industry sectors in the S&P 500 finished lower, with financial stocks taking the hardest hits. Energy stocks also are sharply lower as crude oil plunged nearly $4 a barrel this morning before moderating only slightly. Gold is higher as the U.S. dollar reversed its recent surge following the disappointing jobs report.

U.S. employers added just 69,000 jobs in May, the Labor Department reported, well under the 165,000 increase expected by experts in a Marketwatch survey. The unemployment rate rose to 8.2% from April's 8.1% rate as 422,000 people re-entered the labor force in one of the few bright spots in an otherwise grim report. The average work week fell six minutes to 34.4 hours in May, while average hourly earnings added only 2 cents to $23.41. Employment gains for April and March also were revised lower.

Stocks were already falling ahead of the 8:30 a.m. ET jobs report after a string of reports showed little or no manufacturing growth in several global markets. Manufacturing activity in China slowed considerably last month, with the Purchasing Managers' Index for May easing to a 50.4 reading from a 53.3 score in April, according to government survey released Friday. Analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires were expecting a 51.5 reading, while a separate Reuters survey put it at 51.1. A PMI figure above 50 indicates growth.

Elsewhere, Britain's manufacturing sector shrank at its fastest pace in three years with the headline activity index falling to a 45.9 in May from a downwardly revised 50.2 in April, its lowest reading since May 2009. Analysts had expected a 49.8 reading. Canada, however, saw its best growth in eight months, with the RBC Canadian Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index climbing for a fourth straight month to a 54.7 reading in May from 53.3 in April.

Manufacturing growth in the U.S. also slowed as factories throttled back production and pared inventories in response to weakness in the global economy. The Institute for Supply Management's factory index fell to 53.5 after reaching a 10-month high of 54.8 in April. The median projection of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a decrease to 53.8 in May. A separate purchasers manufacturing index this morning found strong numbers for May, with the Markit PMI coming in at 54.0, matching estimates.

In other economic reports released today, consumer spending rose 0.3% in April, in-line with forecasts and outpacing income growth while inflation pressures eased to 1.9%, according to the Commerce Department. Incomes increased only just 0.2%, down from a 0.4% pace in March.

Also, U.S. construction spending rose 0.3% in April, matching analysts' estimates, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $821 billion, the Commerce Department said Friday. Compared with April 2011, total construction spending is up 6.8%. Spending in March was revised to a 0.3% gain from a prior estimate of a 0.1% increase.

In company news, automaker shares fell today after U.S. sales gains during May failed to keep pace with analyst expectations. General Motors (NYSE:GM) delivered 245,256 vehicles last month, up 11% from year-ago levels. Sales for Toyota Motor Corp (NYSE:TM) surged 87% to 202,973 vehicles, while Chrysler Group LLC sold 150,041 vehicles for a 30% gain and Nissan rose 21% to 91,794. Analysts, however, were expecting a 15% increase for GM with Toyota projected for a 93% gain. Chrylser was seen boosting sales 40% and Nissan was expected to produce a 29% advance, according to experts polled by Bloomberg News.

The news was better at Ford Motor Co (NYSE:F), which sent 215,699 cars and trucks out of showrooms for a 13% gain, beating estimates for a 12% increase. Volkswagen AG grew its sales by 28% to 38,657 vehicles, trailing estimates for a 33% rise. Honda Motor Co has yet to report, with the car-maker forecast for a 53% year-over-year increases, according to the Bloomberg estimates.

Crude oil prices continued their sharp decline with the benchmark July NYMEX contract settling at $83.17 a barrel, down $3.34. July natural gas fell 11 cents to $2.32 per 1 million BTU. August gold rose $56.90 to finish at $1621.40 an ounce while July silver rose $0.71 to $28.51, as precious metals rallied with haven shopping as well as a weaker dollar that followed today's jobs report. July copper fell 5 cents to $3.32.

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) GOLD, Miner benefits from 3% rise in bullion prices.

(+) BFED, Agrees to be acquired by Berkshire Hills Bancorp.

(+) PIP, Court upholds ruling in company's favor.

(+) BP, Selling stake in Russian arctic venture.

(+) MVIS, Receives $4 million order from Pioneer

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) QUIK, Prices offering.

(-) VRA, Posts better-than-expected Q1 figures.

(-) OVTI, Q4 earnings, revenues disappoint.

Source: Toughest Day Of Year For Stocks