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Stocks Regain Ground But Remain Firmly Negative - U.S. Commentary

After moving sharply lower at the start of trading on Monday, stocks have regained some ground over the course of the morning. The major averages have climbed off their worst levels of the day but remain firmly negative.

The initial weakness on Wall Street came as the Labor Department's monthly employment report, released while the markets were closed last Friday, showed much weaker than expected job growth in the month of March.

The disappointing jobs data led to renewed concerns about the economic outlook and inspired some traders to cash in on the strong upward move seen in recent months.

While selling pressure has waned since then, substantial weakness remains visible among health insurance stocks. Molina (MOH) and Centene (CNC) are posting steep losses on the day, contributing to a 6.6 percent drop by the Morgan Stanley Healthcare Payor Index.

Financial stocks also continue to see significant weakness on the day, with the KBW Bank Index and the NYSE Arca Broker/Dealer Index both down by 2.4 percent.

Healthcare provider, biotechnology, and housing stocks also continue to post steep losses amid broad based weakness in the markets. On the other hand, gold stocks continue to buck the downtrend.

The major averages are currently posting steep losses but are well off their lows for the session. The Dow is down 138.08 points or 1.1 percent at 12,922.06, the Nasdaq is down 30.09 points or 1 percent at 3,050.41 and the S&P 500 is down 16.61 points or 1.2 percent at 1,381.47.

by RTT Staff Writer

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