Investors Jittery on Jobs Report; Dow Jones Industrial Average Sheds 279

Commodity stocks got crushed today, while brokers surged

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Mar 6, 2015 at 4:19 PM
Updated on Apr 20, 2015 at 5:32 PM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:DJI) -- which is headed for a major shake-up -- got hit hard today, as a strong nonfarm payrolls report fueled concerns the Fed will raise interest rates sooner rather than later. The data also boosted the dollar, and negatively impacted commodities in the process. Elsewhere, the international trade gap fell slightly less than expected in January, while consumer borrowing increased by 4.2% -- its slowest clip in more than a year.

Continue reading for more on today's market, including:

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI - 17,856.78) gave up its perch atop 18,000, tumbling 278.9 points, or 1.5%. All 30 of the Dow's components ended in the red, paced by a 2.4% loss at Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ). For the week, the index retreated 1.5%.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 2,071.26) dropped back below 2,100, shedding 29.8 points, or 1.4%. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,927.37) skidded to a 55.4-point, or 1.1%, loss. For the week, the SPX and COMP fell 1.6% and 0.7%, respectively.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 15.20) finished at its highest level since Feb. 19, adding 1.2 points, or 8.3%. On a weekly basis, the market's "fear gauge" picked up 13.9%.

CLOSING SUMMARY – INDICES

CLOSING SUMMARY – NYSE AND NASDAQ

5 Items on Our Radar Today:

  1. The nonfarm payrolls report dominated financial headlines today. U.S. employers added more positions than expected in February, while the unemployment rate fell to its lowest level since May 2008. In addition, average hourly earnings ticked 3 cents higher from the previous month. (Reuters)
  2. Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker once again called on the central bank to raise interest rates in June. "If we're confident that [oil prices are] transitory, then inflation expectations remain fairly stable and we can chug along and take that volatility in stride," Lacker said. (Reuters, via CNBC)
  3. Shares of this fitness center operator blew up amid reports that the company may go private.
  4. Cliffs Natural Resources Inc (NYSE:CLF) and Vale SA (ADR) (NYSE:VALE) were among the mining stocks that followed gold into the red.
  5. How traders placed their bets ahead of Qihoo 360 Technology Co Ltd's (NYSE:QIHU) upcoming turn in the earnings confessional.
EARNINGS

For a look at today's options movers and commodities activity, head to page 2.

STOCKS – NOTABLE CALL ACTIVITY

STOCKS – NOTABLE PUT ACTIVITY

Commodities:

Crude extended yesterday's losses, as the nonfarm payrolls report boosted the dollar. The April-dated contract lost $1.15, or 2.3%, to settle at $49.61 per barrel. On a weekly basis, oil dropped 0.3%, marking its third straight weekly loss.

Gold landed at its lowest settlement price of 2015, pressured by a stellar jobs report and mounting fears the Fed could raise interest rates. April-dated gold spiraled $31.90, or 2.7%, lower, closing at $1,164.30 per ounce -- well below the psychologically significant $1,200 level. On a week-over-week basis, the contract tumbled $48.80, or 4%.


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