Dow Takes a Short Dip

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NEW YORK: Bad news from the tech sector, strong labor demand and overnight weakness in the Japanese stock market joined forces to cause a sharp sell-off in early trading in U.S. markets Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 180 points in early morning trading. By close of play, it had recovered to a 103 point loss but investors' nerves were clearly frayed all day.

What happened? First of all, heavy selling in Tokyo where the blue-chip Nikkei 225 index plummeted 697.51 points, or 4.2 percent, to end at 15836.36. It was the first time the index retreated below the 16000 mark since 1995. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong dropped another 2.95 percent Friday, ending down 308.06, at 10104.5.

Traders also were put on edge Friday morning by a Labor Department employment report for October showing that non-farm payrolls unexpectedly increased sharply to 284,000. The unemployment rate dropped to 4.7 percent, the lowest level in 24 years.

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