Wall Street closed sharply lower on Friday following disappointing job data for February. Moreover, weak economic data from China and Germany also dented investors’ confidence. All three major stock indexes closed in the red. Indexes also finished in the negative territory for the week as a whole.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) closed at 25,450.24, declining 0.1%. The S&P 500 Index (INX) decreased 0.2% to close at 2,743.07. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite Index (IXIC) closed at 7,408.14, shedding 0.2%. A total of 7.1 billion shares were traded on Friday, lower than the last 20-session average of 7.3 billion shares. Decliners outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1.35-to-1 ratio. On the Nasdaq, decliners had an edge over advancers by 1.21-to-1 ratio. The CBOE VIX decreased 3.3% to close at 16.05.
How Did the Benchmarks Perform?
The Dow ended in negative territory for the five successive days for the first time since June 2018. Notably, 16 stocks of the 30-stocks blue-chip index finished in the red while thirteen ended in the green and one remained unchanged. Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM - Free Report) was a major loser with a loss of 1.4%. Exxon Mobil carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
The S&P 500 closed in the red for the fifth consecutive day, first since November 2018. The Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) lost 1.9%. Notably, seven out of 11 sectors of the benchmark index closed in the red while four ended in green. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite finished in the red for five straight days first since April 2018.
Disappointing Job Data
On Mar 8, the Department of Labor reported that the U.S. economy added a mere 20,000 jobs in February, significantly below the consensus estimate of 186,000. However, January’s job additions were revised upward, from 304,000 to 311,000. Professional and business services generated the highest level of job creation, with 42,000 new positions. Health care added 21,000 and wholesale trade added 11,000.
However, unemployment rate declined to 3.8% from 4% in January. Average hourly wage rate grew 0.4% in February compared with the consensus estimate of a growth of 0.3%.
Global Economic Growth Concern
On Mar 8, China reported that the country’s dollar dominated exports tumbled 20.7% year over year in February. Notably, exports rose 9.1% in January year over year. China’s trade balance in February came in at just $4.12 billion compared with $39.16 billion in January. Trade surplus with the United States declined to $14.72 billion in February from $27.3 billion in the prior month.
Manufacturing orders for January plunged 2.6% in January indicating that slowdown of the industrial sector of the largest economy of the Eurozone is continuing in 2019.
Trade Talks Remains Inconclusive
The trade related disputes between the United States and China are yet to be resolved. U.S. ambassador to China, Terry Branstad told The Wall Street Journal that several issues are still remained to be solved before a deal can take place. President Trump has delayed hiking tariff rates on $200 billion of Chinese goods from 10% to 25%.
It was a disappointing week for Wall Street. All three major stock indexes declined in the last week and also marked their biggest weekly decline so far this year. Both the Dow and S&P 500 declined 2.2% while Nasdaq Composite declined 2.5%.
Renewed concern about global economic growth was the primary cause for stock market decline. Slowdown in Chinese growth outlook, ECB’s downward projection of the Eurozone’s growth rate and weak job data in the United States dented investors’ confidence.
Stocks That Made Headline
ConocoPhillips to Get $8.7B Compensation From Venezuela
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