A particularly disappointing employment report for March sent stocks sharply lower on Friday morning. The precious metals were modestly higher.
Platinum and palladium were mixed, trading at $914/oz and $900/oz, respectively. It’s the first time platinum has traded above the palladium price since August.
Wall St Opens Lower on NFP Miss
Markets took a nosedive on Friday morning after data from the Labor Department showed unexpectedly weak job growth last month.
March nonfarm payrolls (NFP) came in at 103,000 jobs added. This was well below forecasts of about 180,000 and is a pretty low monthly total in general.
Payrolls added well over 300,000 jobs in February by comparison.
The numbers were worse than Wednesday’s ADP payrolls would have suggested. It was the smallest NFP in six months.
In the same report, unemployment held at 4.1% nationally.
The S&P 500 plunged almost 1% at Friday’s open. The Dow Jones was off 0.7% and the Nasdaq was down 0.45%.
Shares were down by the same proportion in Europe, although the FTSE 100 in London only lost 0.1%. Japanese stocks fell 0.3% overnight while shares closed up over 1% in Hong Kong.
Markets are closed in China for holiday.
However, the dollar was mostly steady at 90.2 on the DXY index, off about 0.3%. The yen gained 0.2%.
A stronger dollar took the shine off of gold prices yesterday.
Equities in the U.S. still saw broad-based gains amid choppy, volatile trading on Thursday, especially tech stocks.
One explanation for why stocks had been stabilizing of late is because indices have reached key technical support levels.
Trade War, Central Banking Stay in Headlines
Commodity prices have been more volatile this week, as well.
Copper followed up a 1.7% drop on Wednesday with nearly a 2% gain on Thursday. The industrial metal is still up over 20% year-on-year.
Agricultural commodities were up sharply across the board. Crude oil rebounded modestly.
President Trump called China’s list of over 100 retaliatory tariffs “unfair” on Friday and floated the idea of expanding the amount of Chinese goods targeted for higher tariffs an additional $100 billion.
Beijing responded as one would expect, promising a proportionate retaliation.
The U.S. is currently attempting to form a coalition with Japan and the European Union to make a formal complaint to the World Trade Organization (WTO) about how China obtains foreign intellectual property.
Global bonds were mixed yesterday, falling across all of Europe (with the notable exception of Greece) while bonds rose across virtually all of the Asia-Pacific region, especially in India and New Zealand.
10-year Treasury yields were down three basis points to 2.80%.
In central banking news, the new Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic gave a speech about financial literacy yesterday. Chair Jay Powell will speak later today at 1:30 pm EST.
The opinions and forecasts herein are provided solely for informational purposes, and should not be used or construed as an offer, solicitation, or recommendation to buy or sell any product.