Shares, oil fall as U.S. jobs data stirs concern

Mon Apr 9, 2012 4:32pm EDT
 
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By Herbert Lash

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Global stocks and crude oil fell on Monday as investors reacted to the surprisingly sharp slowdown in U.S. jobs growth reported last week, which raised concerns about the strength of the world's largest economy.

Stocks on Wall Street and crude oil futures prices slid about 1 percent on the first trading day after the U.S. Labor Department reported the March jobs data. U.S. equity markets were closed on Friday for the Good Friday holiday.

The government reported that just 120,000 jobs were added in March, far below market expectations for 203,000 new jobs and the smallest increase since October.

Trade was light, as major markets in Europe as well as some markets in Asia, including Australia and Hong Kong, were closed on Monday.

In afternoon trade stocks pared losses, as did crude futures, while gains in safe-haven government debt were reined in, suggesting investors were starting to shrug off the jobs data.

"We have reacted to the weak unemployment numbers, and now we are shifting focus to earnings, especially the banks later in the week," said Paul Nolte, managing director of Dearborn Partners in Chicago.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI closed down 130.55 points, or 1.00 percent, at 12,929.59. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index .SPX fell 15.88 points, or 1.14 percent, at 1,382.20. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC slid 33.42 points, or 1.08 percent, at 3,047.08.

MSCI's all-country world equity index .MIWD00000PUS slipped 0.7 percent to trade near lows last seen a month ago.   Continued...

 
A man passes an electronic screen displaying graphs of the movements of share prices around the world as cherry blossoms are in full bloom in Tokyo April 9, 2012. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao