Closing Update: Stocks Lower, Trim Weekly Gain as Geopolitical Tensions Resurface, Jobs Report Headlines Dismissed


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Stocks closed off their worst levels of the day but held onto modest losses for the second consecutive session as traders questioned the strength of jobs report details. For one thing, the job market participation rate plunged to a 35-year low. Geo-political factors also contributed to the defensive tone on Wall Street after reports of increased fighting in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slovyansk rekindled concerns about tensions between Russia and the West.

The Labor Department reported a 288,000 increase in non-farm payrolls, exceeding estimates for a 215,000 gain. The jobless rate fell to a 6-year low of 6.3%, beating forecasts for a decline to 6.6%. But the fly in the ointment was a 62.8% participation rate which reflected 806,000 less Americans in the labor force following a gain of 503,000 in March. Analysts claim the decline in participation skewed the unemployment rate to the downside, throwing cold water on the post-jobs reaction in the market.

But any attempt to rebound off the lows was extinguished when selling pressure snowballed on the heels of fighting in Ukraine. Pro-Russian forces shot down two Ukrainian military helicopters in Slovyansk -- which borders Russia on Ukraine's east -- eliciting a pledge from the Ukrainian government to squelch the rebellion.

Lost amid the excitement of the payrolls report was a below-consensus gain of 1.1% in March factory orders versus the street estimate of +1.4%. February factory orders were revised downward to +1.5% from +1.6% initially.

Here's where the markets stand at the close:


Dow Jones Industrial Index was down 45 points (-0.3%) at 16,512

S&P 500 was down 2.5 points (-0.1%) at 1,881

Nasdaq Composite Index was down 3 points (-0.1%) at 4,123


FTSE 100 was up 0.20%

Nikkei 225 was down 0.19%

Hang Seng Index was up 0.57%

Shanghai China Composite Index was up 0.30%


(+) MCHX Q2 earnings and revenue increased from year ago levels

(+) SXI Earnings and revenues both beat analyst estimates

(+) RXII Tests of RXI-109 has given positive results.


(-) SGEN Investors disappointed in earnings loss, sluggish sales for lead drug

(-) DRL FDIC orders bank to revise capital plan

(-) IMMU Priced public sale of 9 million shares at a 14% discount to Thursday's close

(-) NGVC Misses Q2 sales estimate, meets on EPS; sees FY EPS in-line to below forecasts

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

Copyright (C) 2014 All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

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