US stocks closed lower on Friday despite a strong labour market report for February, as the oil price continued to rise, driven by continuing turmoil in Libya.
The S&P 500 closed 0.74% or 9.82 points down at 1,321, while the Dow Jones was 0.72% lower at 12,169 and the Nasdaq closed 0.5% down at 2,784.
The US reported a fall in the number of unemployed last month, to 8.9%, down from 9% in January. Analysts had expected an increase to 9.1%.
February’s decline was the third consecutive monthly decrease, and marked a positive indicator of the strength of the US economy.
However, the data was overshadowed by the soaring oil price. Crude oil futures in New York climbed more than 2.6% to almost $105 a barrel, its highest level since September 2008.
Meanwhile, the FTSE 100 had a sluggish start this morning as Middle East concerns mingled with mixed trading updates. London’s leading share index opened flat, rising 0.12% or 7 points to 5,997 in early trading.
Petrofac fell, although the oil fabrications giant reported only “minimal impact” so far from the unrest, but it adds it continues to monitor the situation closely.
Reports over the weekend BSkyB's shareholders want a much higher offer from News Corp have lifted the satellite broadcaster, while the LSE is mulling Nasdaq as a takeover target after it concludes its merger with Toroto SE, according to reports.
Additional reporting by ShareCast
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