Stocks slip after U.S. job report, foreclosure ruling
* Euro at nearly four-month low on European debt concern
* Copper rally challenged as heady growth outlook tempered (Updates with U.S. market close)
By Al Yoon
NEW YORK, Jan 7 (Reuters) – The euro fell to a nearly four-month low against the dollar on Friday after the United States reported a surprisingly strong decline in its unemployment rate, but disappointment over the number of jobs added drove Treasuries higher and weighed on stocks.
Worries about sovereign debt in the euro zone also weighed on the single currency and European equity markets ahead of debt auctions next week.
Oil prices fell, closing the first week of the new year with the biggest weekly percentage loss in nearly five months, stung by the stronger dollar.
U.S. non-farm payrolls increased by 103,000 in December, the government said, below economists’ expectations for 175,000. The jobless rate, however, fell to 9.4 percent, the lowest rate in more than 1-1/2 years, and the United States revised up the payroll numbers for October and November. For details, see [ID:nN06134458]
“You can’t ignore the fact that, regardless of a disappointing payrolls outcome, U.S. growth is still looking better than Europe, and the euro sovereign stress is still there,” said Richard Franulovich, senior currency strategist at Westpac in New York.
The euro zone debt crisis “will surface as an investor concern this quarter,” said Colin McLean, managing director at SVM Asset Management in Edinburgh. “Portugal will have to access the stability fund.”
On Wall Street, stocks were led lower by bank shares after a court ruling voided some foreclosures, the latest court decision on the validity of foreclosures conducted without full documentation. The ruling may set a dangerous precedent for the sector and slow the recovery in housing if the processing of delinquent loans keeps hitting snags.
The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI fell 22.55 points, or 0.19 percent, to 11,674.76. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index .SPX slipped 2.35 points, or 0.18 percent, to 1,271.50 and the Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC declined 6.72 points, or 0.25 percent, to 2,703.17.
Shares of Wells Fargo & Co., a defendant in the foreclosure case in the Massachusetts ruling, fell 2 percent to $31.50.
Europe’s FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 dropped 0.25 percent, with selling accelerating after the U.S. data. Banks were among the top decliners
World stocks measured by MSCI All-Country World Index .MIWD00000PUS edged down 0.4 percent in a third straight decline. Japan’s Nikkei average .N225 edged up 0.1 percent to an eight-month high.