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Weekend markets: Jobs report sends stocks tumbling


The US economy added no jobs in August for the first time in almost a year.

Nevil Gibson
Sat, 03 Sep 2011

The US economy failed to add jobs last for the first time in almost a year, fuelling fears of a recession and sending stocks tumbling on Wall Street and earlier in Europe.

The data showed the unemployment rate remained stuck at 9.1%. The dismal August non-farm payrolls report was the worst result since September 2010, and fell well short of expectations for 80,000 jobs.

Figures for the previous two months were also revised down by a total of 58,000.

Financial stocks led the broad retreat, with Bank of America falling 8.5% after the Wall Street Journal reported that US regulators asked the bank to show what measures it could take if conditions worsened.

JP Morgan Chase declined 4.6% and Goldman Sachs Group shed 5.4%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 253.31 points, or 2.2%, to 11,240.26, its second straight triple-digit decline. The S&P 500 index lost 2.5% to 1173.97, while the Nasdaq Composite slid 2.6%, to 2480.33.

Other markets: Europe, Asia down
European stock markets tumbled after the release of weak monthly US employment data.

The benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 index closed down 2.9% at 231.88. Frankfurt's DAX was down 3.3% at 5538.38, the CAC-40 was 3.6% lower at 3148.53 in Paris and London's FTSE 100 was 2.3% lower at 5293.03.

Asian stock markets fell, with sharp losses for technology and resource stocks.

Japan's Nikkei Stock Average declined 1.2% to 8950.74 and Korea's Kospi dropped 0.7% to 1867.75, as both benchmarks snapped six-session winning streaks.

Four-day runs ended in Hong Kong, where the Hang Seng Index fell 1.8% to 20,212.91, and in Sydney, where the S&P/ASX 200 index lost 1.5% to 4242.90.

China's Shanghai Composite lost 1.1% to 2528.28, its first loss in three sessions. The market lost 3.2% over the week, its worst showing in just over three months.

In India, where markets had closed for two days for religious holidays, the Sensex gained 0.9% to 16,821.46. It surged 6.1% over the week, the biggest leap in more than two years.

Commodities: Oil falls, gold climbs
Crudel futures fell 2.8% as fresh concerns over a stagnating US economy trumped worries over a tropical storm disrupting oil output in the Gulf of Mexico.

Tropical Storm Lee has shut in nearly half of the Gulf’s oil output and one-third of the region's natural gas output.

After peaking on Thursday within 10USc of $US90 a barrel for the first time in a month, crude fell to a low of $US85.42 a barrel after the non-farm payroll figure was unchanged from July.

Light, sweet crude oil for October delivery in New York settled $US2.48 a barrel lower at $US86.45 a barrel. The price was the lowest in a week, while the decline was the biggest since August 18.

Gold futures climbed to within striking distance of last week's record highs.

The most actively traded gold contract, for December delivery, rose $US47.80, or 2.6%, to settle at $US1876.90 an ounce in New York, the second highest ending price behind the record of $US1,891.90 reached on August 22.

Currencies: US dollar plunges
The dollar plunged against the Swiss franc but higher against the euro as US jobs showed no improvement in August.

Both the dollar and euro fell nearly 3% to a resurgent Swiss franc before recovering. Both currencies remained well above the record lows they hit in August.

The euro was at $US1.4203 compared with $US1.4261 late on Thursday. The dollar traded at ¥76.75 compared with ¥76.93, while the euro was at ¥109.01 from ¥109.71.

The UK pound fetched $US1.6212 from $US1.6181, while the dollar bought 0.7865 franc from 0.7955 franc.
 

Nevil Gibson
Sat, 03 Sep 2011
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Weekend markets: Jobs report sends stocks tumbling
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