Stocks down; no big support from U.S. jobs data

By Chris Reese

NEW YORK (BestGrowthStock) – Stocks mostly fell in volatile trade around the world on Friday on persistent fears that the debt crisis in Greece could spread through the euro zone, while the dollar rose against the yen after strong U.S. jobs data.

The better-than-expected jobs figures, showing the U.S. economy added 290,000 nonfarm payroll jobs in April, gave only minimal support to risky assets. U.S. stocks (Read more about the stock market today. ) were trading lower and oil prices shed more than 2 percent.

Sterling hit a one-year low beneath $1.45 after elections in Britain left no party with an outright parliamentary majority, but it rebounded when Conservative Party leader David Cameron said he would try to form a minority government.

Traders said speculation on Friday that the European Central Bank may act to support other indebted euro zone countries and European banks helped the euro move off a 14-month low against the dollar and eased some of the fears that Greece’s debt woes may ripple through the region.

Wall Street was trading lower, extending Thursday’s losses when the Dow at one point suffered its biggest ever intraday point drop — nearly 1,000 points. Concerns about the euro zone debt woes persisted as investors feared further escalation in the crisis would hit economic growth and market sentiment.

“The market was already under pressure because of the growing recognition that the crisis in Greece has gone from being a Greek problem to a regional problem and now it’s morphing into a global problem,” Pacific Investment Management Co (Pimco) Chief Executive and Co-chief Investment Officer Mohamed El-Erian told Reuters Insider.

The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI: ) on Friday dropped 29.09 points, or 0.28 percent, to 10,491.23. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (.SPX: ) fell 4.17 points, or 0.37 percent, to 1,123.98. The Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC: ) lost 19.03 points, or 0.82 percent, to 2,300.61.

“It certainly didn’t disappoint on the number of new jobs created but I guess the question now is: is the overhang from the stock market going to influence it more than the bond performance given the payroll data,” Bill Schultz, chief investment officer at McQueen, Ball & Associates at Bethlehem in Pennsylvania, said of the U.S. payrolls report.

“It’s amazing that you could say the jobs report may not be the big mover on a Friday of a jobs report number. I think we’re watching overseas and what’s going on in the equities market,” he added.

European shares ended at a 6-month closing low, suffering their worst weekly fall since November 2008.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 (.FTEU3: ) index of top shares closed down 3.9 percent at 967.42 after touching an 8-month intraday low, and ended the week down 8.9 percent.

Banking stocks’ earlier gains evaporated and became the worst performers. BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA: ), Barclays (BARC.L: ) and Societe Generale (SOGN.PA: ) fell 5.5 to 7.8 percent. The STOXX Europe 600 banking index (.SX7P: ) is down 16 percent so far this year.

The euro was last up 0.7 percent at $1.2720 after falling to $1.2520 on Thursday, its lowest since March 2009. It rose 1.7 percent to 116.53 after dipping below 111 yen Thursday, its lowest level since 2001.

Sterling rose 0.1 percent to $1.4772, off a one-year low of $1.4475 touched after the election results, while the dollar rose 1.5 percent to 91.88 yenU.S. Treasury debt prices fell on Friday, taking back some of the sharp gains made on Thursday, with the 10-year Treasury note (US10YT=RR: ) trading 8/32 lower in price and its yield rising to 3.42 percent.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, June crude was down $1.80, or 2.33 percent, at $75.31 a barrel. U.S. oil has lost over $10 in the past week on growing concern the European debt crisis would hit global economic growth.

Stock Market News

(Editing by James Dalgleish)

Stocks down; no big support from U.S. jobs data