U.S. stocks edged lower in early trading Friday after two days of big gains. The government reported another strong round of hiring in December that helped push the unemployment rate down to a six-year low. Wage growth, however, remained weak.
JOBS REPORT: The Labor Department reported that employers added 252,000 jobs in December, slightly more than economists expected. The government also said more jobs were added in October and November than it had previously estimated. The unemployment rate dropped to 5.6 percent from 5.8 percent.
KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell six points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,056 as of 9:57 a.m. on Wall Street. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 95 points, or 0.5 percent, to 17,813. The Nasdaq composite dropped four points, or 0.1 percent, to 4,730.
ENERGY: U.S. crude fell 23 cents to $48.63 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London, Brent crude fell 50 cents to $50.46 a barrel. A dive in the price of oil earlier in the week had triggered a big sell-off in global stock markets. The price of the commodity has fallen by more than half since June last year as traders try to price in a glut of supply due to increased production.
SALES MISS: Bed Bath & Beyond was the biggest decliner on the S&P 500 after the company said late Thursday that its quarterly sales missed estimates. The home goods retailer posted revenue of $2.94 billion in the period, which fell short of Street forecasts. Analysts expected $2.97 billion, according to Zacks Investment Research. The company's stock slumped $6.39, or 8 percent, to $73.03.
EUROPE: Markets mostly fell in Europe. France's CAC 40 fell 0.6 percent, Germany's DAX shed 0.4 percent and Britain's FTSE 100 lost 0.5 percent.
BOND MARKETS: In government bond trading, prices were little changed. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note was unchanged from Thursday at 2.02 percent.
CURRENCIES: The euro edged up to $1.1795 from $1.1792 the previous day. The dollar fell to 119.49 yen from 119.80 yen.