Dow Jones Industrial Average Sinks as Jobs Data Sparks Fed Fears

The U.S. added more jobs than expected last month, while the unemployment rate edged lower

Mar 6, 2015 at 11:37 AM
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:DJI) is sharply lower at midday -- erasing all of Thursday's ECB-related gains, and putting the blue-chip barometer on track to notch its second consecutive weekly loss -- following this morning's jobs report. Specifically, the U.S. added a better-than-expected 295,000 jobs last month, while the unemployment rate edged down to 5.5%, and hourly wages increased 0.1%. However, the improving employment backdrop has sparked fear that the Federal Reserve could be prompted to raise interest rates sooner rather than later. Elsewhere on the economic front, the Commerce Department said that after hitting its highest mark since 2012 in December, the trade deficit narrowed at the start of the year. Looking ahead to next week, retail will be in the spotlight on both the earnings and economic fronts.

Continue reading for more on today's market -- and don't miss:

Midday Market Stats

Among the stocks with notable call volume is TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. (NYSE:AMTD), which is up 4.5% at $38.28 -- and earlier tagged a 15-year peak of $38.74 -- thanks to a price-target hike to $44 from $41 at Deutsche Bank. At last check, calls were trading at 17 times the average intraday pace, with a number of speculators rolling the dice on higher highs. Specifically, AMTD's August and April 39 calls are most active, and appears to be seeing a rush of buy-to-open activity.

For more midday statistics and stocks on the move, head to page 2.

Life Time Fitness, Inc. (NYSE:LTM) is the leading advancer on the Big Board, following reports the gym operator is in advanced talks to go private. At last check, the stock was up 13.3% at $65.33, after earlier topping out at a record peak of $69.13.

Orexigen Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:OREX) is one of the biggest decliners on the Nasdaq, after a U.S. regulator questioned the biopharmaceutical firm's diet drug, Contrave. At midday, the equity was off 15.5% at $6.77, but still holding on to a portion of Tuesday's massive gain.

30-Minute Chart of OREX Since March 2015

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is up 1.2 points, or 8.2% at 15.19 -- and on track to post a 13.9% week-over-week advance.

Today's put/call volume ratio on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is 2.38, with puts more than doubling calls. SPY was last seen down 1.9 points, or 0.9%, at $208.50.


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