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Stocks fall on Friday to cap tumultuous week of trading from new Covid variant threat

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Stocks dropped on Friday, after a disappointing November jobs report, as the market wrapped up a roller-coaster week driven by Covid omicron variant concerns.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 59.71 points to 34,580.08, dragged down by a 1.9% loss in Boeing. The 30-stock index was down more than 300 points earlier in the session. The S&P 500 dropped 0.8% to 4,538.43. The technology-focused Nasdaq Composite dipped 1.9% to 15,085.47. The major averages posted a losing week.

Technology stocks were among the most notable losers on Friday as Tesla fell 6.4% and Zoom Video declined nearly 4.1%. DocuSign cratered 42.2% after the company issued fourth-quarter sales guidance that was lower than what analysts expected.

Stocks tied closely to the virus have led the market on its week-long seesaw, and that continued Friday. Companies that benefit from the economic expansion, such as hotels and airlines, led losers. Las Vegas Sands was off by nearly 3.7% and Delta Air Lines fell 1.8%. Norwegian Cruise Line fell 4.5% and Carnival lost close to 3.9%.

“The uncertainty regarding Omicron is high, but coupled with the disappointing jobs number and investors decided to dump in front of the weekend,” said Ryan Detrick, chief market strategist at LPL Financial.

November’s jobs report showed slower-than-expected job creation last month. Nonfarm payrolls increased by just 210,000 for the month, well below the 573,000 jobs predicted by economists polled by Dow Jones.

However, the unemployment rate fell sharply to 4.2%, better than estimates of 4.5%.

“It is unsettling to see that we were unable to build on October’s strong numbers, with uncertainty only set to increase as the winter progresses,” said Steve Rick, chief economist at CUNA Mutual Group.That said, it is not completely surprising that this month fell short with the country preparing to respond to the COVID-19 Omicron variant and continuing to battle rising inflation and the ongoing supply chain crisis.”

Elsewhere in markets, Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi announced during Asia trading hours on Friday that it will start delisting from the New York Stock Exchange and make plans to list in Hong Kong instead. Shares fell about 22.2%.

Friday’s market moves continued a highly volatile streak for stocks as the market digests the new Covid variant omicron and what it means for investors. The omicron variant has now been detected in five U.S. states, with symptoms so far reported as mild.

Despite a rebound on Thursday that saw the Dow rise more than 600 points, the 30-stock average dropped 0.9% for the week. The S&P 500 fell 1.2%, and the Nasdaq Composite lost 2.6% this week.

Barclays told clients on Friday to stay the course and buy the market on dips.

“We remain of the view that overall macro and liquidity conditions are supportive of equities, and advise to add on weakness, looking for the bull market to carry on,” said Emmanuel Cau of Barclays.

— with reporting from CNBC’s Nate Rattner.

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