Stock Futures Fall As Job Creation Much Less Than Expected

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were falling Friday on signs of a sharp slowdown in the U.S. labor market.

Futures for the S&P 500 were down 9.25 points, or 8.78 points below fair value, to 1,545.25. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were falling 81 points, or 81.11 points below fair value, to 14,450. Futures for the Nasdaq were off 18.75 points, or 22.27 points below fair value, to 2,766.25.

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%. Economists, on average, estimated that 200,000 jobs would be added to nonfarm payrolls and the unemployment rate would remain at 7.7%.

The ADP National Employment Report on Wednesday showed that private employers added less jobs in March than expected and the employment index component of the March ISM Non-manufacturing report reinforced concerns about the labor market.

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.

U.S. stocks rose Thursday as signs of a fragile labor market in the Labor Department's weekly jobless claims report and outplacement firm Challenger Gray & Christmas' job cuts report were overshadowed by Japan's bold moves to stimulate its sluggish economy and signals that European policymakers may take similar steps.

The dollar was rising 0.04% to $82.709 according to the U.S. dollar index. The benchmark 10-year Treasury fell 1/32, raising the yield to 1.77%.

May crude oil futures were down 27 cents to $92.99 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

F5 Networks ( FFIV) shares were plunging 17.44% to $74.65 in premarket trading 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.

Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ) shares were down 0.45% to $21.92 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.

J.C. Penney ( JCP) debuts the first of its new home goods sections on Friday in 500 of its 1,100 stores.

The plan is the latest move by CEO Ron Johnson to boost sales at the struggling department store chain. The home goods sections feature 20 boutiques that highlight 50 new brands.

Shares were falling 1.86% to $14.80.

Kimberly Clark ( KMB) was falling 1.02% to $97.47 after the consumer products stock was downgraded to "underperform" from "market perform" at BMO Capital.

Written by Andrea Tse in New York

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

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