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Wall Street opens sharply lower dragged by energy shares

  • S&P 500 Energy Index is down nearly 1% on Friday.
  • Nonfarm Payrolls in US rose sharply in January, +225K.
  • Defensive sectors post modest gains in early trade.

Wall Street's main indexes started the day sharply lower on Friday after posting gains for the last four straight days as the relief rally seems to have lost its momentum despite the upbeat labour market report. As of writing, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq Composite were both down 0.6% on the day while the S&P 500 was erasing 0.5%.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday reported that Nonfarm Payrolls in January rose by 225,000 to beat the market expectation of 160,000.

Defensive shares gain traction

Among the 11-major S&P 500 sectors, the Energy Index and the Materials Index are down 1% on the day pressured by falling commodity prices, namely oil and copper. On the other hand, the defensive sectors, Real Estate and Utilities, are posting modest gains to confirm the sour market mood. In the meantime, the CBOE Volatility Index, Wall Street's fear gauge, is up 6.5% on a daily basis. 

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