Markets were down across the board Friday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) mimicking its prodigious rise yesterday with an equally steep fall today. The index quickly erased its nascent November gains, closing down 139 points, a decline of more than 1%, to close at 13,093.
The biggest catalyst of the day came from the release of October jobs data. The economy added 171,000 non-farm jobs in the month, far higher than the 125,000 figure that economists had been expecting. Ironically, the good news may have caused the markets to flounder; the news may help the Obama campaign in the president's effort to beat Republican opponent Mitt Romney. Investors may fear that Obama will have a tougher time working with a Republican House of Representatives to avoid America's looming fiscal cliff in the coming months.
Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) was one of just four Dow stocks to advance amid the gloom of the day, and was the only one of the 30 components to gain more than 1% today. The stock continued its remarkable rally; it's up 75% year to date. Investors may finally be confident in the bank's capital levels, which were the source of much concern in 2011.
Chevron (NYSE:CVX) was the poorest performer in the index today, falling almost 3%, as investors reacted to weak quarterly results from the oil company. Not only did revenues and profits fall from a year ago, but the price of oil continued to fall, declining 2.6% Friday to close at $84.86 per barrel.
Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) was the second biggest decliner in the Dow, falling more than 2% on news that U.S. equipment sales were stalling in September. Sales of non-defense capital goods, excluding aircraft -- a metric that's considered a good measurement of business' willingness to invest -- rose just 0.2% in September.
Outside the Dow, we saw quite a bit of movement today from biotech Dendreon (NASDAQ: DNDN), which locked in gains of more than 16% for the day, after briefly trading more than 30% higher earlier on. Driving today's outperformance were third quarter results, where Dendreon reported a nearly 30% jump in sales for its prostate cancer treatment drug, and announced it expects to save $150 million annually from restructuring efforts.