MARKETS SNAPSHOT FOR 03/05/12
Friday, 04 May 2012 | 00:04
DJ30 PointChange: -61.98 Level: 13206.59 NASDAQ PointChange: -35.55 Level: 3024.3 NQ100 PercentChange: -1.1 R2K PercentChange: -1.5 SP400 PercentChange: -1.7 SP500 PointChange: -10.74 Level: 1391.57 NASDAQ-Adv:643 Dec: 1897 NYSE-Adv:900 Dec: 2094
[BRIEFING.COM] The major equity averages started the session near the neutral line, but a lack of support left stocks to slide into negative territory. They settled only modestly above session lows as participants prepared for a highly anticipated payrolls report after receiving a mixed batch of data.
Sentiment improved slightly ahead of the open when it was learned that 365,000 initial jobless claims were filed for the week ended April 28, down from the prior week total of 392,000 and less than the 375,000 claims that had been broadly expected, but the accompanying bid proved temporary. Many simply shrugged off a 2.0% increase in first quarter unit labor costs and a 0.5% decline in productivity -- the Briefing.com consensus called for an increase of 3.0% and a decline of 0.8%, respectively.
Stocks chopped along without much direction in the opening minutes of trade, but sellers were stirred by the latest. ISM Non-Manufacturing Index. After a print of 56.0 in the prior month it pulled back to 53.5 for April. Many had expected a more modest decline to 55.5.
Given the lack of actual leadership, stocks were unable to sustain a mid-morning rebound effort. Sectors with meaningful market weight, like Tech, Financials, and Energy, were weak all afternoon. Each suffered a loss of roughly 1% or more.
For the second straight session Energy stocks were the worst performers. Collectively, they declined 1.5% after a 1.6% slide in the prior session.
Suffering a 1.1% loss, Materials stocks also succumbed to stiff selling pressure. Weakness among natural resource plays was likely exacerbated by a drop in commodity prices -- the CRB Commodity Index fell 0.9% after a 1.3% loss in the prior session.
The drop by commodities came even though the dollar mustered only a modest gain today. As of the close it was up just 0.1% against a basket of major foreign currencies. It was flat versus the euro, which moved modestly earlier in the day amid hawkish commentary from European Central Bank President Draghi.
Earnings were given little regard in the broader market, but quarterly reports provided fodder for traders of individual stocks. Visa (V 116.41, -5.78), General Motors (GM 22.37, -0.56), and Prudential (PRU 54.62, -6.32) all posted upside surprises, but still suffered losses. Allstate (ALL 34.23, +1.32) staged a strong climb after it announced.
Even amid the headlines of the day market participants remained mindful that tomorrow morning brings the government's official nonfarm payrolls report. Earlier this week a glimpse of what monthly payrolls might look like was provided by the ADP Employment Report, which suggested that fewer jobs were added in April than what many had expected. Economists polled by Briefing.com expect, on average, that nonfarm payrolls officially grew by roughly 160,000 in April.
Advancing Sectors: Consumer Staples +0.1%, Telecom +0.1%
Declining Sectors: Health Care -0.4%, Utilities -0.6%, Consumer Discretionary -0.7%, Financials -0.9%, Industrials -0.9%, Tech -1.0%, Materials -1.1%, Energy -1.5%