Friday March 8th


Dow futures fall 200 points after jobs report badly missed estimates

U.S. stock index futures fell to their lows of the day on Friday after the February jobs report badly missed expectations. At around 8:30 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were down 217 points, indicating a drop of 221.23 points at the open. Futures on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 also dropped. The U.S. economy added just 20,000 jobs in last month. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected a gain of 180,000. Treasury yields fell along with futures. The benchmark 10-year rate dipped to 2.619 percent while the 2-year yield traded at 2.45 percent. The data come amid growing concerns about the global economy possibly slowing down. Data out of China showed its exports slumped 20.7 percent from a year earlier, far below analyst expectations and wiping out a surprise jump in January. Analysts cautioned that data from China at the beginning of the year may be distorted by week-long Chinese New Year public holidays, which started in early February this year. In 2018, Chinese New Year holidays started in mid-February. The weak data all come less than 24 hours after the European Central Bank slashed its growth forecasts for the euro zone and announced a new round of policy stimulus. Stocks in major Asian stock markets closed lower on Friday as investors grappled with fresh concerns over the state of the global economy, with Chinese trade data for February coming in below expectations. Mainland Chinese shares cratered on the day, with the Shanghai composite falling 4.4 percent to close at 2,969.86 and the Shenzhen component slipping 3.248 percent to finish at 9,363.72. The Shenzhen composite shed 3.791 percent to close at 1,605.28. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index declined more than 1.8 percent in its final hour of trading. Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 2.01 percent to close at 21,025.56. The Topix also slipped 1.82 percent to finish its trading week at 1,572.44. Over in South Korea, the Kospi shed 1.31 to close at 2,137.44. Oil prices more than 2 percent on Friday on a worsening global economic outlook after the European Central Bank warned of continued weakness and fresh data showed Chinese imports and exports slumped last month. Crude futures extended losses after U.S. government data showed the country added just 20,000 jobs in February, compared with estimates for a gain of 180,000 positions. International benchmark Brent crude futures lost $1.73, or 2.6 percent, to $64.57 a barrel around 8:52 a.m. ET (1352 GMT). U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were down $1.51, or 2.7 percent, at $55.15. Gold on Friday bounced back from multi-week lows and the dollar slipped ahead of a key U.S. jobs report as investors fret over increasing signs of a global slowdown. Spot gold rose 0.59 percent to $1,293.11 per ounce as of 7:54 a.m. ET. Prices on Thursday hit a low of $1,280.91, which was a whisker away from a more than five-week low hit earlier this week. U.S. gold futures gained 0.6 percent to $1,293.80.