Author: E.L. & C. Baillieu Stockbroking - by Andrew Thain
- Stocks started the week with a sharp loss after Friday's worse-than-expected jobs data cast doubt on the pace of the labor market's recovery.
- European stock markets ended with a small gain on Thursday after trading in negative territory for most of the day, trimming a weekly loss tied in part to renewed sovereign-debt worries.
- Crude-oil prices fell, briefly brushing eight-week lows, as talks between Iran and global powers set for later this week helped cool worries about conflict in the oil-producing region.
- Gold rose as traders bet last week's U.S. unemployment report increased the likelihood that the Federal Reserve would maintain its accommodative policy to boost the economy.
Stocks started the week with a sharp loss after Friday's worse-than-expected jobs data cast doubt on the pace of the labor market's recovery.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 131 points, or 1%, to 12930, its fourth straight decline. The session was the first following the labor report's release on the Friday before Easter, a holiday for U.S. markets.
The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index lost 16 points, or 1.1%, to 1382, and the Nasdaq Composite slid 33 points, or 1.1%, to 3047.
The pullback followed the biggest weekly decline of the year for all three indexes amid concerns about Europe's sovereign-debt woes. All 10 S&P 500 sectors retreated Monday, with industrial and financial stocks tumbling the most.Bank of America led the Dow lower, easing 3.3%.
Nonfarm payrolls increased 120,000 in March, the Labor Department reported on Friday.
The result snapped a three-month streak of 200,000-plus job growth. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had expected, on average, an increase of 203,000.
In corporate news, AOL soared after the company said it agreed to sell more than 800 patents and related patent applications to Microsoft and grant Microsoft a license to its retained patents in exchange for $1.06 billion. Microsoft slipped.
European stock markets ended with a small gain on Thursday after trading in negative territory for most of the day, trimming a weekly loss tied in part to renewed sovereign-debt worries.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index rose 0.1% to close at 259.07 after trading as low as 256.52. For the week, the index fell 1.6%. European equities pushed back into positive territory in late trade as Wall Street erased initial losses.
Most European and U.S. markets were closed Friday. Major European markets were also closed Monday for the Easter Monday holiday.
Yields were also higher Thursday and the yield on the 10-year Italian government bond surged 12 basis points to 5.43%. The FTSE MIB index slipped 0.2% to 15,216. Banco Popolare SC lost 2.5%, while Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA fell 5%.
Lloyds Banking Group PLC fell 1.6%, Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC gave up 1.1% and heavyweight HSBC Holdings PLC traded 0.4% lower. The FTSE 100 index gained 0.3% to close at 5,723.67. FTSE 100 gains.
Asian stock markets ended lower on Monday as a bump in China's inflation rate and a weak American jobs report hurt sentiment, while a stronger yen weighed on shares of exporters in Tokyo.
Japan's Nikkei Stock Average fell 1.5% to 9546.26, ending lower for a fifth straight trading day. China's Shanghai Composite gave up 0.9% to 2285.78, South Korea's Kospi lost 1.6% to 1997.08 and Taiwan's Taiex dropped 1.4% to 7600.87. Stock markets in Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Philippines were closed for public holidays.
Regional stocks began the week's trading on a weak note, after data released on Friday showed the U.S. economy created just 120,000 jobs in March, well below market expectations. U.S. markets were closed on Friday, but index futures dropped sharply.
Australian equities managed to claw back most of their early losses in late trade but that wasn’t enough to help the market close the shortened week in the black.
Mining stocks were the main detractors on Friday following the sell-off in commodity markets overnight, as risk assets took a beating from the apparent reluctance by the US Federal Reserve to inject a fresh round of liquidity via quantitative easing. Renewed euro zone concerns, with the lacklustre demand for Spanish bonds, also had an impact.
The S&P/ASX 200 Index dipped 0.3 per cent to a two-week low of 4319 on Thursday after falling by over 1 per cent in the morning. Seven out of 10 sectors finished in the red, with the mining heavy materials sector the worst performer with a 1 per cent per cent fall.
Crude-oil prices fell, briefly brushing eight-week lows, as talks between Iran and global powers set for later this week helped cool worries about conflict in the oil-producing region.
Light, sweet crude for May delivery fell 85 cents, or 0.8%, to settle at $102.46 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after dipping as low as $100.81 earlier in the session. Brent crude on the ICE futures exchange fell 76 cents, or 0.6%, to settle at $122.67 a barrel.
Gold rose as traders bet last week's U.S. unemployment report increased the likelihood that the Federal Reserve would maintain its accommodative policy to boost the economy.
The most actively traded contract, for June delivery, rose $13.80, or 0.9%, to settle at $1,643.90 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Comex gold trading was closed Friday in observance of the Good Friday holiday.