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Stocks fall after US reports job losses in March

U.S. stocks posted a third week of losses in the past four, capping a volatile stretch after the government reported a big loss in jobs last month because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 360.91 points to close at 21,052.53. The Standard & Poor’s 500 fell 1.5% to end at 2,488.65, as energy shares gave back gains after crude prices eased. For the week, the Dow fell more than 2.5% while the S&P 500 shed 2%. 

The U.S. lost 701,000 jobs in March, the Labor Department said Friday, the first decline in job creation in a decade. The unemployment rate last month rose to 4.4% from 3.5%. 

The data comes after a separate report on Thursday showed a record 6.6 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week. That was double the previous week’s job losses of 3.3 million. It raised the total number of Americans who are out of work due to the coronavirus-driven downturn to almost 10 million.

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