This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Frail Jobs Gains Give Markets Jitters

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stocks sold off Friday after a substantial slowdown in jobs growth stoked pessimism about the pace of the country's economic recovery.

The S&P 500 fell 0.43% to 1,553.27, to drop 1% for the week -- its largest weekly decline this year. The retreat by stocks sets a pensive tone for the second quarter after the S&P hit a record high just a week ago.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the U.S. added just 88,000 jobs in March, a sharp slowdown from an upwardly revised 268,000 jobs in February. The jobless rate fell to 7.6% from 7.7% because the labor force continued to shrink. Economists, on average, estimated that 200,000 jobs would be added to nonfarm payrolls and the unemployment rate would remain at 7.7%.

"This was an ugly report ... when taken with the recent disappointment in ISM and housing numbers this may cause a reassessment of what we feel currently about the economy," JJ Kinahan, Chicago-based chief derivatives strategist at TD Ameritrade, said in an emailed comment.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.28% to 14,565.25. The blue-chip index slid 0.09% on the week. The Nasdaq closed off 0.65% to 3,203.86. The tech-heavy index stumbled 1.95% for the week.

F5 Networks (FFIV) was the worst performer on the S&P as shares plummeted 19% to $73.21 after the network gear maker on Thursday predicted much worse-than-expected second-quarter results after suffering the impact of U.S. federal budget cuts and a delay in orders in North America.

The company's rivals were also declining. Juniper Networks (JNPR) lost 3.2% to $17.55 and Cisco Systems (CSCO) slid 2% to $20.61.

Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) shares finished down 1.5% to $21.97 as chairman Ray Lane stepped down from the PC maker after stockholders sought his ouster following several hiccups by the board, including the acquisition of software company Autonomy.

Rigel Pharmaceuticals (RIGL) plunged 40.2% to $4.50 after an experimental rheumatoid arthritis pill from AstraZeneca (AZN) and Rigel produced mixed results in a late-stage clinical trial, raising additional questions about the drug's future.

A disappointing March nonfarm payrolls report resulted in a powerful surge for gold, with the yellow metal for June delivery closing up $23.50 to $1,575.90 an ounce. May crude oil futures settled down 56 cents to $92.70 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange as slower jobs growth could translate into less commuters and a curb in demand for oil and gasoline.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was jumping 17/32, pushing the yield down toward its lowest level since Dec. 12 at 1.708%.

"Net net a soft report even with upward revisions and that ongoing decline in participation is a suggestion that jobs are not so rife and encouraging," David Ader, head of U.S. government-bond strategy at CRT Capital Group LLC in Stamford, Conn. said in a note. "Others will argue this is about demographics, but we don't see how suddenly everyone's retiring and have written about how 55 year olds [and older] are getting most of the jobs."

Market participants continued to keep their eye on the nuclear and military threats from North Korea after the country reportedly moved an intermediate-range missile to its east coast.

They are also gearing up for first-quarter earnings, which will be kicked off by Alcoa (AA) next Monday after the markets close.

The FTSE 100 in London dropped 1.49% and the DAX in Germany tumbled 2.03%.

The dollar was falling 0.23% to $82.53 according to the U.S. dollar index.

Written by Andrea Tse and Joe Deaux in New York

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Andrea Tse.

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 16,975.59 +15.02 0.09%
S&P 500 1,979.17 +0.83 0.04%
NASDAQ 4,447.7060 -1.8580 -0.04%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs