Stocks took a modest hit today following an awful March employment report.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that Nonfarm Payrolls rose by just 88,000, which was well below the consensus forecast of 190,000. The unemployment rate was below expectations at 7.6%, but this was the result of a shrinking labor force participation rate, indicating that many Americans are leaving the job market altogether.
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However, following an initial sharp decline that saw the S&P 500 (^INX) fall as much as 1.3%, stocks recovered some of the losses.
This may be an indication that the market was bracing itself for a hit, as market-leading indicators like the Russell 2000 (INDEXRUSSELL:RUT) and Dow Transports (INDEXDJX:DJT) had been pointing down for some time already.
Nonetheless, worry remained in the air as Treasuries and gold (GLD) held a very strong bid all day.
In other news, we saw serious weakness in networking stocks following afternoon's warning from F5 Networks (FFIV), while Facebook (FB) rallied on a upgrade from Argus Research.
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Tomorrow's Financial Outlook
We should have an interesting day on Monday as we'll learn whether the market sees the jobs number as ample reason to put in a meaningful correction. The crisis in Cyprus was a short-term blip, relatively speaking, and it's unknown whether the recent string of so-so global economic data will be considered the same.
Additionally, earnings season will officially kick off with Alcoa's (AA) report after the close. On the economic front, we'll see both the March ISM Index and the February Construction Spending numbers at 10:00 a.m. EDT.
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