Stocks are falling this morning as investors brace for a
potentially bad jobs report.
S&P 500 futures are down about 0.5 percent, while European
indexes are tumbling almost 2 percent. Most Asian bourses were
lower overnight as well, with the exception of Japan's Nikkei.
The Labor Department will announce non-farm payrolls for March at
8:30 a.m. ET. Economists forecast that 192,000 jobs were
added last month, but most other employment gauges this week have
missed expectations. That threatens to derail a positive
economic-growth story that emerged late last year and helped propel
stocks to long-term highs in recent weeks.
There have been warning signs of late, however, as defensive
sectors such as health care and consumer staples took leadership
from financials and energy. Transport stocks, small caps, European
indexes, and Treasury yields have also been falling since
mid-March, failing to confirm the highs in the S&P 500 and the
Dow Jones Industrial Average.
Today's nervousness toward the payrolls number is overshadowing
better-than-expected Eurozone retail sales and strong German
manufacturers orders. Next week, attention will also begin to focus
on individual companies as corporate earnings season gets underway.
Commodities and currencies are modestly bearish, but not dropping
as much as one might expect based on the declines in European
stocks. Oil and copper are down by about one-third of a percent,
but precious metals are advancing modestly after testing support
from last summer. Agricultural products are modestly negative.
The euro, Australian dollar, and Canadian dollar, which often
follow equities, are down fractionally against the U.S. dollar.
In company-specific news, technology stock F5 Networks is indicated
to fall sharply after pre-announcing weak quarterly revenue because
of a slowdown in government spending.
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