US stocks closed lower on Friday, ending a volatile week with their worst five-day start to a year ever, as sliding oil prices and lingering worries about the global economy offset upbeat US job growth.
Both the Dow and S&P 500 had their worst five-day starts in history, with the Dow falling 6.2 per cent for the week and S&P 500 sliding 6 per cent. The Nasdaq was down 7.3 per cent this week.
All three indexes saw losses accelerating into the close.
The market had opened higher after data showing US nonfarm payrolls surged in December and the unemployment rate held steady. But that was not enough to keep stocks in positive territory.
Oil prices fell for a fifth day and Brent lost 10 per cent for the week, while the S&P energy sector .SPNY also extended this week’s slide, ending the day down 1.3 per cent.
Fears of a slowdown in China and the global economy spooked investors this week, creating a turbulent start to the trading year.
“The start of the year is very poor, so that’s got investors on the defensive,” said Bucky Hellwig, senior vice president at BB&T Wealth Management in Birmingham, Alabama.
“In the face of weakening global growth … it’s difficult to find reasons to commit money at this point even if one is bullish,” he said, adding that he expects stocks to rebound from these oversold conditions next week.