Midday Update: Stocks Back In The Green Following Steep Plunge From Dismal September Payrolls Report

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Wall Street was fighting back from a freefall early Friday that followed a bearish September jobs report that rekindled worries about the condition of the U.S. economy and likely pulled prospects for an interest-rate increase later this month by the Federal Reserve off the table.

The Nasdaq Composite index led today's recovery with gains in the biotech and semiconductor sectors and has since been joined by the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which has cut all of a 270-point drop soon after today's opening bell when it again respected its 16,000 support level.

The September payroll report was a trifecta of disappointing news on the job market -- weak headline, weak revisions and no wage growth. Investors are also unnerved by the average pace of job growth for 2015 of 198,000 versus a robust 260,000 for 2014.

Non-farm payrolls increased by just 142,000 last month, missing expectations for a gain closer to 200,000. Besides a sub-par gain in September, July and August were revised lower for a total downward revision of 61,000 between the two months.

The jobless rate stayed unchanged at 5.1%, but this was primarily due to the lack of participation, another bad sign for the economy. Additionally, factory orders dropped 1.7% in August, worse than estimates for a 1.3% decline. Meanwhile, the 0.4% gain in July factory orders was cut in half to a 0.2% rise.

While stocks were in retreat, bond prices shot higher driving the yield on the 10-year note below 2.00% and gold prices jumped $25 per ounce higher, snapping a 5-day losing streak.

Europe managed to hold onto most of their healthy gains from overnight trading even as Wall Street tanked as overseas markets looked to the likelihood that a below-consensus jobs report will keep the Fed sidelined on interest rate increases. The news was welcomed by emerging markets as well which have been bloodied recently by expectations that the U.S. will raise interest rates before the end of the year.

Crude oil was down 0.61% to $44.12 per barrel. Natural gas was up 3 cents to $2.46 per 1 million BTU. Gold was up $24.90 to $1,138.40 per ounce, while silver was up 70 cents to $15.22 per ounce. Copper was up 1 cents to $2.31 per pound.

Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was down 2.02% to $14.29 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was up 0.73% to $11.25. Among precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was up 5.93% to 14.20 while SPDR Gold Shares were up 2.22% to $109.10. The iShares Silver Trust was up 4.64% to $14.54.

Here's where the U.S. markets stood at mid-day:

NYSE Composite Index up 16.42 (+0.17%) to 9,837.37

Dow Jones Industrial Average up 21.48 (+0.13%) to 16,293.49

S&P 500 up 2.67 (+0.14%) to 1,926.49

Nasdaq Composite Index up 17.34 (+0.37%) to 4,644.42


Nikkei 225 Index up 0.02%

Hang Seng Index up 3.17%

Shanghai China Composite Index up 0.48%

FTSE 100 Index up 0.95%

CAC 40 up 0.73%

DAX up 0.46%


NYSE Energy Sector Index up 1.51%

NYSE Financial Sector Index down 0.84%

NYSE Healthcare Sector Index down 0.69%


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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) 2016 All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

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

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