Stock futures lower in first reaction to job data

Published April 9, 2012 12:09PM (EDT)

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks appeared headed for a sharply lower open Monday in the first chance for Wall Street to react to a slowdown in hiring in the United States in March.

Dow Jones industrial average futures were down 119 points at 12,859. Standard & Poor's 500 futures were off 15 points at 1,375. Futures for the Nasdaq 100 lost 30 points.

The U.S. added 120,000 jobs in March, about half the pace from December through February. That figure interrupted the strongest job growth since the Great Recession.

The government released its jobs report on Friday, but the stock market was closed in the United States.

Stocks had already pulled back after their strongest first quarter since 1998. The Dow closed as high as 13,264 last week, then lost more than 200 points in three days.

Even before the job number came out, investors were worried that the Federal Reserve does not appear inclined to take further steps to help the economy grow faster.

This week, investors will turn their attention to first-quarter corporate earnings reports. Alcoa reports tomorrow, the first company of the 30 that make up the Dow.

Analysts are expecting quarterly earnings to decline slightly compared with a year earlier. That would break a streak of nine quarters of earnings growth since 2009.

Asian stock markets fell Monday in their first trading after the U.S. jobs report. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index lost 1.5 percent, Seoul shed 1.6 percent, and Shanghai lost 0.9 percent. Markets were closed Monday in most of Europe.

Among stocks to watch Monday in the United States:

— AOL Inc. has agreed to sell hundreds of patents and patent applications to Microsoft for a little more than $1 billion and return some of the cash to shareholders. The stock is up 33 percent in premarket trading.

— Avon Products Inc., the struggling beauty products company, has named a former executive at Johnson & Johnson, Sherilyn S. McCoy, as its CEO. She starts April 23.

By Salon Staff

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