Stocks have moved sharply lower over the course of the trading day on Friday, as a disappointing jobs report has led to renewed concerns about the outlook for the economy. The markets are extending yesterday's downward move after reaching nearly two-month highs on Tuesday.
The major averages have moved roughly sideways in recent trading, lingering near their worst levels of the day. The Dow is down 177.44 points or 1.4 percent at 12,719.23, the Nasdaq is down 47.81 points or 1.6 percent at 2,928.31 and the S&P 500 is down 17.40 points or 1.3 percent at 1,350.18.
Much of the weakness on Wall Street stems from a negative reaction to the Labor Department's report on U.S. employment in the month of June. While the report showed a continued increase in employment, the pace of job growth fell well short of economist estimates.
The Labor Department said non-farm payroll employment rose by 80,000 jobs in June compared to economist estimates for an increase of about 100,000 jobs.
Despite the continued job growth during the month, the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 8.2 percent, in line with economist estimates.
Peter Boockvar, managing director at Miller Tabak, said, "Bottom line, the 3rd straight month of job growth below 100,000 is pathetic."
"The weakness in April and May were likely due to some weather give back from strength over the winter, but June is more likely being negatively influenced from the growing global economic moderation that will likely intensify in the 2nd half," he added.
While the disappointing data has generated considerable selling pressure on Wall Street, analysts suggested that the report was not bad enough for the Federal Reserve to consider embarking on another round of quantitative easing.
Recently, some weaker than expected economic data was greeted positively by traders, as the reports seemed to increase the likelihood of further stimulus.
While most of the major sectors have moved to the downside on the day, technology stocks are posting particularly steep losses in mid-day trading.
Significant weakness is visible among software stocks, as reflected by the 3.2 percent loss being posted by the Dow Jones Software Index. With the loss, the index is pulling back further off the two-month closing high that it set on Tuesday.
Within the software sector, business software developer Informatica (INFA) has tumbled by 30 percent after forecasting weaker than expected second quarter results.
Networking, semiconductor, and computer hardware stocks are also posting notable losses. Among hardware stocks, Seagate Technology (STX) is down by 3.2 percent after lowering its fourth quarter revenue guidance.
Outside of the tech sector, considerable weakness is also visible among gold stocks, which are moving lower along with the price of the precious metal. With gold for August delivery falling $20.20 to $1,589.20, the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index is down by 3 percent.
Steel, defense, telecom, and trucking stocks are also posting steep losses on the day, reflecting the broad based weakness on Wall Street.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower on Friday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index fell by 0.7 percent, while Australia's All Ordinaries Index edged down by 0.3 percent. Meanwhile, China's Shanghai Composite Index bucked the downtrend and rose by 1 percent.
The major European markets also moved to the downside on the day. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index ended the day down by 0.5 percent, while the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index both tumbled by 1.9 percent.
In the bond market, treasuries have moved notably higher on the heels of the disappointing jobs data. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, is down by 5.1 basis points at 1.546 percent.
by RTT Staff Writer
For comments and feedback: email@example.com