U.S. stocks plunge after weak June jobs report

NEW YORK — Investors abandoned stocks Friday after the U.S. government reported that only 80,000 jobs were created in June, the third straight month of weak hiring.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 124.20 to close at 12,772.47. The loss wiped out the Dow’s gain for the week.

Of the 30 stocks in the Dow average, only five rose, including McDonald’s and AT&T. The world’s largest producer of aluminum, Alcoa, and Caterpillar, the construction equipment maker, were among the hardest-hit Dow stocks with declines of about 3 percent each.

The jobs report led investors to shift money into low-risk assets. The price of the 10-year Treasury note rose, sending its yield down to 1.55 percent from 1.60 percent late Thursday.

In other trading on Wall Street, the S&P 500 slid 12.90, or 0.9 percent, to 1,354.68. The Nasdaq composite fell 38.79, or 1.3 percent, to 2,937.33.

Best Buy cutting 2,400 jobs in turnaround bid

NEW YORK — Electronics retailer Best Buy Co. is laying off 600 staffers in its Geek Squad technical support division and 1,800 other store workers as it seeks to restructure operations and improve results.

The cuts amount to about 1.4 percent of the company’s total staff of 167,000.

Best Buy spokesman Bruce Hight said the layoffs are part of the company’s “ongoing turnaround plan.” In March, the company said it would implement a restructuring designed to trim $800 million in costs.

Yahoo, Facebook settle legal spat over patents

SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook and Yahoo have agreed to settle a patent dispute, averting a potentially lengthy battle over the technology running two of the Internet’s most popular destinations.

In dropping the lawsuits, the companies agreed to license their patents to each other. They are also agreeing to an advertising alliance that expands their existing partnership.

The advertising alliance could help Yahoo recover some of the revenue that it has been losing as marketers shift more of their spending to a larger and more engaged audience on Facebook’s online social network.

Friday’s settlement involves no exchange of money.

Chains suing Pfizer, say generic Lipitor delayed

TRENTON, N.J. — Five large drug and grocery chains are suing Pfizer Inc. and a second drugmaker, alleging they conspired to delay sales of cheap generic versions of the blockbuster cholesterol drug Lipitor.

Lipitor, the world’s top-selling drug ever, had peak sales of nearly $13 billion a year several years ago. Sales dropped sharply after it got U.S. generic competition on Nov. 30.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday by Walgreen, Kroger and three other retailers, claims generics should have been available nearly two years earlier, when Lipitor’s patent expired.

Criminal probe opened over rate investigation

LONDON — Britain’s Serious Fraud Office said Friday that it has formally opened a criminal investigation of the manipulation of a key market interest rate that has shaken Barclays.

The bank was fined $435 million last week by U.S. and British agencies for making false reports of its borrowing costs between 2005 and 2009, specifically of the London interbank offered rate, or LIBOR, which influences the costs of a range of financial instruments including home mortgages.

Regulators are known to be looking into similar allegations against other banks in Britain and elsewhere, but Barclays is the only bank so far to have been publicly shamed.

The Serious Fraud Office announcement did not mention Barclays by name but referred to “the LIBOR matter.”

Wire reports