Frail Jobs Gains Give Markets Jitters
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stocks sold off Friday after a substantial slowdown in jobs growth stoked pessimism about the pace of the country's economic recovery.
The S&P 500 fell 0.43% to 1,553.27, to drop 1% for the week -- its largest weekly decline this year. The retreat by stocks sets a pensive tone for the second quarter after the S&P hit a record high just a week ago.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the U.S. added just 88,000 jobs in March, a sharp slowdown from an upwardly revised 268,000 jobs in February. The jobless rate fell to 7.6% from 7.7% because the labor force continued to shrink. Economists, on average, estimated that 200,000 jobs would be added to nonfarm payrolls and the unemployment rate would remain at 7.7%.
"This was an ugly report ... when taken with the recent disappointment in ISM and housing numbers this may cause a reassessment of what we feel currently about the economy," JJ Kinahan, Chicago-based chief derivatives strategist at TD Ameritrade, said in an emailed comment.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.28% to 14,565.25. The blue-chip index slid 0.09% on the week. The Nasdaq closed off 0.65% to 3,203.86. The tech-heavy index stumbled 1.95% for the week.
The company's rivals were also declining. Juniper Networks
A disappointing March nonfarm payrolls report resulted in a powerful surge for gold, with the yellow metal for June delivery closing up $23.50 to $1,575.90 an ounce. May crude oil futures settled down 56 cents to $92.70 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange as slower jobs growth could translate into less commuters and a curb in demand for oil and gasoline.
The benchmark 10-year Treasury was jumping 17/32, pushing the yield down toward its lowest level since Dec. 12 at 1.708%.
"Net net a soft report even with upward revisions and that ongoing decline in participation is a suggestion that jobs are not so rife and encouraging," David Ader, head of U.S. government-bond strategy at CRT Capital Group LLC in Stamford, Conn. said in a note. "Others will argue this is about demographics, but we don't see how suddenly everyone's retiring and have written about how 55 year olds