The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Business

June 1, 2012

Dismal job market pushes Dow into 275-point plunge

NEW YORK — The stock market suffered its worst day of the year Friday after a surprisingly weak report about hiring and employment cast a pall of gloom over the U.S. economy. The Dow Jones industrial average plunged 275 points.

Traders stampeded into the safety of bonds, pushing the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note to a record low. Fearful investors bought gold, causing the price to spike $50 an ounce, and concern about a global economic slowdown drove the price of oil to its lowest since October.

“The big worry now is that this economic slowdown is widening and accelerating,” said Sam Stovall, chief equity strategist at S&P Capital IQ, a market research firm.

It was the Dow’s steepest one-day drop since November.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index and Nasdaq composite index both fell more than 3 percent. The Nasdaq has dropped more than 10 percent since its peak — what traders call a market correction. The S&P 500 is just a point above correction territory.

American employers added just 69,000 jobs in May, the fewest in a year, and the unemployment rate increased to 8.2 percent from 8.1 percent. Economists had forecast a gain of 158,000 jobs.

The report, considered the most important economic indicator each month, also said that hiring in March and April was considerably weaker than originally thought.

Earlier data showed weak economic conditions in Europe and Asia, too. Unemployment in the 17 countries that use the euro currency stayed at a record-high 11 percent in April, and unemployment spiked to almost 25 percent in Spain.

There were signs that growth in China, which helped sustain the global economy through the recession, is slowing significantly. China’s manufacturing weakened in May, according to surveys released Friday.

The Dow closed down 274.88 points, or 2.2 percent, at 12,118.57. The Dow is off 0.8 percent for the year; two months ago, it was up more than 8 percent for the year.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 32.29 points, or 2.5 percent, to 1,278.04. The Nasdaq dropped 79.86, or 2.8 percent, to 2,747.48. Both indexes are still up for the year — 1.6 percent for the S&P 500 and 5.5 percent for the Nasdaq.

Traders sold all types of risky investments and rushed to the safety of U.S. government bonds and gold. Bond prices rose sharply, briefly pushing the yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note down to 1.44 percent, the lowest on record. The yield ended the day at 1.46 percent.

Gold for August delivery climbed $57.90, nearly 4 percent, to $1,622.10 per ounce.

“Everybody’s looking for a safe haven,” said Adam Patti, CEO of IndexIQ, an asset management firm. He’s skeptical of that strategy, believing the swing was driven by short-term traders “looking to flip in and out of things,” rather than long-term investors willing to ride out a few bumps in the market.

May was the worst month for the stock market in two years by some measures. Investors’ worries about Europe’s debt crisis intensified as the month wore on. Greece’s political future is uncertain, and it appears increasingly likely to stop using the euro currency. That could rattle financial markets and make Greece’s economy — already hobbled — even weaker.

Friday’s jobs report drew traders’ attention back to the weakening U.S. economy, said Todd Salamone, director of research for Schaeffer’s Investment Research in Cincinnati.

“The weaker jobs report translates into anticipation of slower growth ahead and weaker corporate earnings, and that ratchets stock prices lower,” Salamone said.

The record-low yield on the 10-year Treasury note reflected rapid buying by traders with the biggest portfolios, including central banks, endowments and pension funds, said Ira Jersey, U.S. interest rate strategist at Credit Suisse. He said money managers were selling investments priced in euros and stashing their money in U.S. securities.

Several analysts raised the possibility that the weakening economy will prompt more action by governments and central banks seeking to juice global economic activity. Anticipation of some policy response prevented even deeper losses, Stovall said.

The Federal Reserve undertook programs in 2009 and 2010 to buy U.S. government bonds. Its goal was to lower interest rates and encourage people to buy riskier investments like stocks. At least in public, the central bank so far has resisted a third round of purchases, known as quantitative easing.

Anticipation of bond-buying by the Fed “might put in a little bit of a floor to the market, but the overall economic picture is still bad,” said Bob Gelfond, CEO of MQS Asset Management, a New York hedge fund.

The dollar fell partly because traders expect more intervention by the Federal Reserve, Gelfond said.

The euro rose half a penny against the dollar to above $1.24. A day earlier, fears about Europe’s finances had pushed the euro to a nearly two-year low against the dollar.

Only 17 of the 500 companies in the S&P index were higher for the day.

Homebuilder stocks fell the most, despite a report that construction spending rose for a second month in April. PulteGroup fell 11.8 percent, D.R. Horton 8.4 percent and Lennar 8.3 percent.

Boeing, the biggest U.S. exporter, fell 3.4 percent, one of the biggest declines among the 30 companies that make up the Dow. Traders fear that the economic slowdown will hurt global demand for its airplanes and defense technologies.

A slower global economy would reduce demand for energy. The price of a barrel of oil fell $3.49 to $83.04, extending a monthlong slide. The price of oil is at a 16-month low.

Stocks closed way down in Europe. Greece’s benchmark stock index fell 4.4 percent, Germany’s 3.4 percent and France’s 2.2 percent.

 

1
Text Only
Business
  • Business US stocks close higher for third day in a row

    Investors drove stock prices to their highest level in a week Wednesday,

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • China’s growth slows to 7.4 percent in 1Q

    China’s economic growth slowed further in the latest quarter but appeared strong enough to satisfy Chinese leaders who are trying to put the country on a more sustainable path without politically dangerous job losses.

    April 16, 2014

  • A look at 3 minority business mentoring programs

    A look at minority business mentoring programs, called accelerators, in three metropolitan areas.

    April 16, 2014

  • Why high oil prices are actually good for airlines

    Airline executives frequently complain about fuel costs. But the truth is higher prices actually have been good for business.

    April 16, 2014

  • Business US stocks open higher; Yahoo soars in early trade

    U.S. stocks moved higher in early trading on Wednesday, extending their gains into a third day. Investors welcomed solid earnings from Yahoo as well as some encouraging news about China’s economy and U.S. factory production.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Detroit strikes second deal with its other retirees

    The city of Detroit reached tentative agreements to preserve pensions for retired police office and firefighters but cut monthly payments for other former employees, key deals that could accelerate the largest public bankruptcy in U.S. history, officials said Tuesday.

    April 16, 2014

  • Missouri court expands legal rights for injured workers

    The Missouri Supreme Court has overturned 30 years of precedent with a ruling that gives greater legal protections to injured workers who are fired from their jobs.

    April 15, 2014

  • Immigration activists urge Obama to act boldly

    Latinos and immigration activists are warning of political peril for President Barack Obama and Democrats in the fall election unless the president acts boldly and soon to curb deportations and allow more immigrants to remain legally in the U.S.

    April 15, 2014

  • Farmers off to slow start planting corn crop

    Spring planting across the nation’s Corn Belt is sputtering because the soil remains too soggy or cold for effective seeding.

    April 15, 2014

  • Schreiber Foods schedules Carthage plant expansion

    Plans to expand a Schreiber Foods plant to eventually add 160 new jobs have been endorsed by a Carthage committee working with the company. Andrew Tobish, director of combinations for Schreiber, which is based in Green Bay, Wis., confirmed the project, which he said would be complete by late spring or early summer in 2015.

    April 15, 2014

Poll

The Supreme Court may take up a challenge to an Ohio law that bars false statements about political candidates during a campaign. Do you think false accusations made in the heat of an election should be punished as a crime?

A. Yes.
B. No.
     View Results
Facebook
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
NDN Video
Disbanding Muslim Surveillance Draws Praise Hundreds Missing After South Korean Ferry Sinks Passengers Abuzz After Plane Hits Swarm of Bees Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Pistorius Trial: Adjourned Until May 5 Diaz Gets Physical for New Comedy Raw: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast Freeze Leaves Florida Panhandle With Dead Trees At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Are School Dress Codes Too Strict? Raw: Fatal Ferry Boat Accident Suspicious Bags Found Near Marathon Finish Line Boston Marks the 1st Anniversary of Bombing NYPD Ends Muslim Surveillance Program 8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Sex Offenders Arrested in Slayings of CA Women India's Transgenders Celebrate Historic Ruling Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge