Wall St edges down after recent records

US stocks have slipped as investors took profits after hitting record highs this week and data showed slower-than-expected December US jobs growth.

Domestic jobs increased by 145,000 last month, below the forecast for a 164,000 rise, the US government data showed, as the pace of hiring remained more than enough to keep the longest economic expansion in history on track.

Friday's report also showed the jobless rate held near a 50-year low of 3.5 per cent and average hourly earnings rose 0.1 per cent in the previous month.

"You've had an extremely strong start to the year, led by a number of technology stalwarts, and an underwhelming jobs report," said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles.

That's given investors reason to take some profits, but it's not a significant move down, he said.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 88.25 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 28,868.65, the S&P 500 lost 3.55 points, or 0.11 per cent, to 3,271.15 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 7.90 points, or 0.09 per cent, to 9,195.53.

The indexes are on track for gains for the week, which saw markets rally as US-Iran tensions eased and hopes of a US-China trade deal firmed. The S&P 500 technology index , on pace for a 2.3 per cent weekly gain, was down slightly on Friday.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told Fox Business the trade deal is on track to be signed on January 15.

Boeing Co fell 1.5 per cent after the company released hundreds of internal messages that contained harshly critical comments on 737 MAX development.

With the fourth-quarter earnings season set to begin in earnest next week, analysts expect profits for S&P 500 companies to have declined 0.6 per cent in their second consecutive quarterly decline, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.06-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.17-to-1 ratio favoured decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 60 new 52-week highs and 1 new low; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 100 new highs and 23 new lows.

Austrlaian Associated PressBack to Breaking News

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