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Stocks fall on weak payrolls report

Stocks resume trading lower today following a terrible jobs report on Good Friday.

The S&P 500 is indicated to open down about 0.7 percent from Thursday's close. The only international market with noteworthy trading was India's Sensex, which rose almost 1 percent ahead of a central bank meeting tomorrow. Europe and China were closed. Oil is rallying.

The Labor Department announced that the U.S. economy added only 126,000 jobs last month, barely half what economists had forecast, and revised lower its readings for January and February. That news made an interest-rate hike by the Federal Reserve seem less likely, lifting bond prices and hammering the dollar.

The move fits a new trend in recent weeks of international strength and domestic weakness as the greenback retreats from multi-year highs. Other stories support this pattern, which could help commodities as well: Greece made a firm commitment to international lenders yesterday never to default, smoothing fears about the country's debt crisis. Iranian stocks also rallied on Friday after the country reached a nuclear pact with the West. Given the country's large and young population, that could spur hopes of long-term investments. And today Saudi Arabia raised the price of its oil exports to Asia.

optionMONSTER's researchLAB market scanner has also shown a clear shift to "weak dollar" trades like oil drillers, pipelines, and gold miners in the last two weeks while former leaders like biotechnology and health care have lagged. Money has also streamed into housing stocks as the sector finally starts to show signs of a turnaround.

The Institute for Supply Management's non-manufacturing index at 10 a.m. ET as the only economic headline today. The calendar then remains quiet until minutes from the last Fed meeting on Wednesday afternoon.

In company-specific news, Herbalife is indicated down 7 percent on a report it had been contacted by federal law-enforcement agencies about its business practices. China's Shanda Games rose 6 percent after accepting a $1.9 billion takeover.

Oil and silver rose more than 2 percent, while gold and copper gained by more than 1 percent. Most currencies are little-changed today following a sharp weakening in the U.S. dollar on Friday.

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

Copyright © 2010 OptionMonster® Holdings, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


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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