Investors fear that recession recovery is grinding to a halt
Worse than expected U.S. jobs data Friday pushed stocks and the dollar lower as investors fretted that the U.S. economic recovery from recession is grinding to a halt.
In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was down 17.54 points, or 0.3 percent, at 5,348.24 while Germany’s DAX fell 32.79 points, or 0.5 percent, to 6,300.79. The CAC-40 in France was 24.25 points, or 0.6 percent, lower at 3,739.94.
Wall Street was also expected to open lower — Dow futures were down 52 points, or 0.5 percent, at 10,583 while the broader Standard & Poor’s 500 futures fell 6.8 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,116.70.
European stocks and Wall Street futures had been trading higher before figures from the Labor Department accentuated fears that the U.S. economic recovery is slowing down faster than expected.
It revealed that U.S. employers, both public and private, shed 131,000 jobs during July, double market expectations and that June’s 221,000 decline in payrolls was greater than initially thought. Both months have been impacted by jobs losses related to the census — there were 148,000 census-related layoffs in July.
Though the private sector added 71,000 jobs during July, the overall figures are likely to ratchet up market expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will announce further stimulus measures to get the world’s largest economy back on track.
As is often the case with payrolls figures, the reaction was immediate across a range of assets.
“The report prompted a negative knee-jerk reaction in markets with the dollar under immediate pressure and the benchmark yield on U.S. government paper (10-year Treasury bills) falling around 6 basis points in the aftermath,” said Simon Derrick, an analyst at Bank of New York Mellon.
By mid afternoon London time, the euro was trading 0.6 percent higher at $1.3272, just shy of its earlier high of $1.3282 — its best since May 3.
Meanwhile, the dollar slid 0.9 percent to 85.05 yen, its lowest level since last November.
The jobs data also hit oil markets, and the benchmark crude for September delivery was trading 67 cents lower at $81.34 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 46 cents to settle at $82.01 on Thursday.
Earlier, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 stock index lost 0.1 percent to 9,642.12 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 0.6 percent to 21,678.80. South Korea’s Kospi was little changed at 1,783.83. Markets in India, Thailand and Indonesia gained while Malaysia and Singapore dropped.
However, the Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.4 percent to 2,658.39 as investors weighed how much a slowdown in government spending and tighter monetary policy could cool China’s economic growth.
Associated Press Writer Alex Kennedy in Singapore contributed to this report.
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