Dow plunges 275 on disappointing jobs report

The blue chips go negative for 2012 as stocks suffer their worst day in at least 7 months, as payrolls grow less than half of estimates. The unemployment rate rises to 8.2%. Crude oil drops below $84. Gold moves higher. May auto sales disappoint.

By Charley Blaine Jun 1, 2012 10:48AM
Charley BlaineUpdated: 6:21 p.m. ET

Stocks dropped sharply today, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) going negative for the year, after the Labor Department said the national unemployment rate rose to 8.2% in May and payroll employment growth fell dramatically.

The economy created just 69,000 new jobs in May, down from 77,000 in April and 143,000 in March. The payroll gains were much less than the consensus estimate of 150,000. Worse, the payroll gains for April and March were cut by a total of 49,000 jobs. In a note to clients, Ian Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist of High Frequency Economics, summed up the report in three words: "This is horrible."

There was renewed speculation that the Federal Reserve might try new measures to stimulate the economy, although Chairman Ben Bernanke and others have said they wouldn't move unless the economy shows truly serious deterioration.

It's questionable if today's jobs report meets that standard. The Institute for Supply Management's May index on manufacturing missed estimates slightly but suggested more strength in the economy than the jobs reports indicates. Automakers were reporting decent May sales, although the results were generally below Wall Street estimates.

The Dow closed down 275 points to 12,119. The index ended the day down 0.8% for 2012. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) was off 32 points to 1,278; it's still up 1.6% for the year. The Nasdaq Composite Index ($COMPX) was off 80 points to 2,747 but remains up 5.5% for the year. The losses were the third in a row for the indexes and the worst point losses for the Dow and S&P 500 since Nov. 1. The Nasdsq had its biggest loss since Sept. 22.

Article continues below.
The Nasdaq-100 Index ($NDX), meanwhile, was down 66 points to 2,459. The index is heavily influenced by Apple (AAPL), which was down $16.74 to $560.99, subtracting 14 points from the index by itself. Facebook (FB) was down $1.88 to $27.72.

Interest rates were lower, as investors around the world sought safety in bonds. The U.S. 10-year note yield fell to 1.467% from Thursday's 1.58%. The German 10-year bond was yielding 1.172% after falling to as low as 1.172%.

Late today, ratings company Egan-Jones downgraded Italy's credit rating to B+ from BB. It's not clear how much effect the move will have on markets.

Financial stocks are hit
Financial stocks were the weakest sector of the S&P 500, down more than 3.7% overall. All 10 sectors of the index were lower. Bank of America (BAC) was down 33 cents to $7.02. JPMorgan Chase (JPM) dropped $1.22 to $31.93.

Utility stocks were the best performers. The Dow Jones Utility Average ($UTIL) was off just 4 points to 464.

The Dow has now fallen 8.74% since peaking on May 1. The S&P 500 is off 9.94% since its peak of 1,419 on April 2, though it remains up 2.1% for the year. The Nasdaq has dropped 12% since peaking on March 26. Its gain has been cut from 20% to 5.5%. A loss of 10% or more is the popular definition of a correction.

If you look at the declines from intraday highs reached this winter, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq are both in corrections, down 10.1% and 12.3% respectively. The three indexes ended the day below their simple 200-day moving averages, a key measure of investor confidence.

At the same time, the three indexes are oversold if measured by their relative strength indexes. That means a rally could be near -- if the right trigger emerges

Markets for the week



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Warm weather, Europe and China may be hurting US jobs
Unseasonably warm weather, which brought forward hiring into the winter months, was probably the reason that March and April employment gains proved smaller than originally thought.

May's paltry growth is another question.

Today's jobs report contained a number of worrisome elements. Over the last three months, the economy has added 96,000 jobs a month, compared with 250,000-plus in December, January and February. The average workweek fell slightly; average weekly earnings were up just 0.1%.

The payroll survey -- the one from which the unemployment rate is derived -- was stronger, with total employment up 422,000.

Part-time employment, however, accounted for all of the gain and then some. And the alternative measure of unemployment, which includes the traditional measure plus those who have given up or are working part time because they can't find full-time employment, rose to 14.8% from 14.5% in April. It's still down from 15.4% a year ago.

"While this report hardly qualifies as a disaster, it does confirm that there's a real slowdown under way, and not just some weather-related quirks," said Philippa Dunne and Doug Henwood of the Liscio Report, a newsletter that tracks state finances.

What's not clear is the cause. Most economists believe it is worry that Europe's worsening problems will spill over to this country.

"Some had believed that we had decoupled from China slowing and all the problems in Europe, but that seems to be short-sighted," Malcolm Polley, president and chief investment officer of Stewart Capital Advisors in Indiana, Pa., told Reuters.

The report came as stocks in Europe plunged after the European Union's statistics service said unemployment in the eurozone nations hit 11%.

Manufacturing activity declined across the continent, with activity in Spain, France, Greece and even Germany hitting three-year lows. China also contributed to the day's distress after two reports on manufacturing showed growth continuing to slow.

Manufacturing in the United Kingdom also fell back.

European nations have been struggling with a tottering banking system. Spain's largest banks are largely wards of the state, and a big issue now appears to be finding a eurozone-wide mechanism to insure bank deposits as completely as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. does in the United States.

Crude oil drops, but gold rises
Crude oil (-CL) settled down $3.30 to $83.23 a barrel, potentially its lowest price since Oct. 7. It had traded as low as $82.70. Brent crude, the benchmark North Sea oil, fell to $98.43 a barrel, down $3.44. It was the first close below $100 for Brent since Oct. 4 and its lowest close since January 2011.

Crude in New York is off more than 15% this year and 26% since peaking at $109.77 a barrel on Feb. 24. Brent has fallen 22% since peaking on March 1.

Energy shares were lower as oil dropped. Exxon Mobil (XOM) was down 71 cents to $77.92. Chevron (CVX) dropped $1.90 to $96.41. Schlumberger (SLB) fell $1.18 to $62.07.

The national average retail price of gasoline fell to $3.611 a gallon today, according to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report, from $3.626 on Thursday. Gasoline is still up 10% for the year but down 8.3% from a peak of $3.936 in early April.

Gold (-GC), however, jumped $57.90 to settle at $1,622.10 an ounce. Silver (-SI) closed up 75.5 cents to $28.51 an ounce, and copper (-HG) rose 5.2 cents to $3.3135 a pound.

The euro, however, moved higher against the dollar, trading at $1.24285, up from Thursday's $1.2364. It had traded as low as $1.23183.

Energy prices -- New York close



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(per gallon; AAA)

Auto stocks fall as strong sales actually disappoint
Auto sales were good. They were very good. But not good enough for Wall Street.

Shares of most automakers, including Ford Motor (F), Toyota (TM), Honda Motor (HMC) and Nissan (NSANY), were all lower this afternoon as automakers reported May sales.

GM deliveries last month rose 11% to 245,256. Toyota's sales surged 87% to 202,973, Chrysler's climbed 30% to 150,041 and Nissan's increased 21% to 91,794.

But the consensus estimates ahead of the reports were for gains of 15% by GM, 93% by Toyota, 40% by Chrysler and 29% by Nissan.

Volkswagen's (VLKAY) U.S. sales so far in 2012 are the company's best since 1973. But shares fell $1.12 to $29.01.

Overall, sales in May ran at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 13.8 million units, according to market-research firm Autodata. This is the first month since December that the sales rate has been under 14 million units. But before you panic, deliveries for May were up 25% from a year ago and 12.7% from April.

GM shares moved up briefly but ended down 19 cents to $22.01. The company said today it plans to offer a lump-sum payment to about 42,000 current retirees to invest as they see fit. Those who don't accept will get their pensions via a group annuity purchased through Prudential Insurance. The move is expected to cut GM's pension obligations by some $26 billion.

Wal-Mart is the best Dow performer; gold stocks jump
None of the 30 Dow stocks finished in the black today. The best performer was Wal-Mart Stores (WMT), down 27 cents to $65.55.

The laggard was Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), down $1.43 to $21.25 after Jeffries analyst Peter Misek said the company's restructuring efforts weren't enough to offset weak sales in Europe and declining personal-computer and printer sales.

Only seventeen S&P 500 stocks were higher, along with just two Nasdaq-100 stocks.

Gold miners had a big day. Newmont Mining (NEM), the largest U.S. gold producer, was the S&P 500 leader, up $3.14 to $50.30. Randgold Resources (GOLD) was the Nasdaq-100 leader, up $7.91 to $87.26. Duke Energy (DUK) was second among S&P 500 stocks; Infosys (INFY) was the second Nasdaq-100 stock that finished with a gain.

Homebuilding stocks were among the day's biggest losers. PulteGroup (PHM) fell $1.10 to $8.26.

Short hits from the markets -- New York close



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Jun 1, 2012 3:12PM
I dont think in our investing times that investors ever lost this much money in a short period of time. 2008 was now a rally!!!
Jun 1, 2012 3:10PM
no problem I ws looking forward to working until age 85, if im lucky
Jun 1, 2012 3:08PM
did you see the joker (obozo) try to explain this today? what an idiot
Jun 1, 2012 3:07PM
This wipes out future retiree for 5 years!!! Investment back to 1999.Wall Street has been the problem through all of the problems because i tnever tried to work anything out. It was set on negative and nothing was going to change it, Long term investment is a thing of the past!!
Jun 1, 2012 3:07PM
And now we are blaming the weather on the job numbers?  GIVE ME A BREAK!!!!  Would someone please explain to me why the job numbers should impact the stock market in the first place?  I know, some genius is going to say that there is no growth going on!  Well if my business is booming then the job loss should have nothing to do with my stock.  Wall Street will find any reason it can to get people to buy and sell on news that most likely is not relevant at all.  And to boot the people who are guessing at the employment numbers are Wall Street employees!
Jun 1, 2012 3:06PM
 4 dollar gas, plunging stock market and 8.2% unemplyment at least...well thats change, I guess
Jun 1, 2012 3:05PM
Glad I fled to safety into utilities stocks.  DUK is up quite nicely.
Jun 1, 2012 3:05PM
Don't worry fellow Americans, Obama will remind us that's its all GW and Romney's fault, why same sex marriages are OK and why Obamacare is a good thing.  Then he'll sing a few songs to cheer us up,and head off on another campaign trip or vacation.

Jun 1, 2012 3:05PM
omg obozo is worse than carter,,,by far
Jun 1, 2012 3:03PM
and the obozobots say "bush did it"
Jun 1, 2012 2:57PM
The job numbers have never really been good, just more and more people leaving the workforce. Those who could retire probably did or will. If you're 50 or over and looking for work, you may as well hang it up; unless, you have a needed  skill----nurse, medical related, lawyer??? Saying that BO has created 4 milllion jobs or whatever may be true, but he hasn't been able to keep up with the job losses. Truthfully, he's yet to get back all the job losses. His rallying cry is excuses, blame someone else, or still try to hang it on GWB. I think a lot of the public is starting to see through the smoke.
Jun 1, 2012 2:56PM
Oh well, here today, gone tomorow. Stocks raise on news about China, Then down on reports from Europe. Better off hiding what dollars you can in the back yard. Where would the stock market be if you took out all the 401k money that has to be there. Back to 1970s levels?
Jun 1, 2012 2:49PM
It says it erased 2012 gains today. That happened weeks ago. investors are negative for 2012 at least 6% money wise.The number and money dont match upat all.
Jun 1, 2012 2:47PM

Yup.... I see once again the repuglicants, the "T"(bone you and me) party, and the great robber wall street barons are doing what they have become so good at doing lately (actually, the ONLY thing they have been good at doing lately)....  F-ing up this economy so bad that they hope the divided, ignorant, intolerant  citizenry of this country will be so tired of the BS that they will actually start believing that this is all President Obamas' fault... just to follow through on their promise to make sure President Obama is a one term presiden.... regardless of what it is doing to the rest of us! 


Come on rational, intelligent, thoughtful and openminded people (are there any of us left?).... The TP/GNOP/WSRB/1% crowd doesnt give one tiny bit of rat sh*t about you or me... all they care is about regaining and retaining power, and making it easier for the rich to get richer...  while we middle and lower classes get their same old lip service. 


If you don't think this country has become more divided, ignorant, and intolerant due to the lack of a combined effort on the part of both parties to compromise... then you truly HAVE swallowed every drop of their ideological bullsh*t....


You get what pay for... and if you didn;t pay for it, then you get what you deserve.

Jun 1, 2012 2:45PM
I have never seeing a millionaire- Politician  do good for the average people , ask Bush, Bloomber , Corzine  and now Romney .Check on them .
Jun 1, 2012 2:43PM

Doda52: Thank God for the Republican Led Congress... If it was not for them, even more long term damage would be done. Like millions of other Americans, I want them to say NO to what the President the entire DNC and Senate want to do to this country. No to Obama Care. No to suing Arizona. No to too big to fail. No to bail-outs. No to redistribution of wealth. No to hating women and preferring they be aborted by plan parenthood. No to Green Energy subsidies, crony capitalism, etc., etc. Thank God for the power of NO.


We will have to vote Romney and the Republicans in office to see all the great things they will do for the country. We don't want them to read the legislation, or even consider democratic input. Their intuition of small government and free market solutions will be enough for me.  

Jun 1, 2012 2:41PM
what would happen if the stock market is eliminated - would it improve the economy?  Would things get better?   As it happend in the 1929/30s and since 2008, seems when it crashes - everything crashes...i'm not an expert (have not worked in stock for at least 15 years) but that was a thought last night...
Jun 1, 2012 2:39PM

Interesting how this jobs report causes the stock market to drop, and  people to blame government.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't the jobs supposed to be created in the same "private sector" that also runs Wall Street. 


FYI  The stock market only topped 13,000 once during the Bush Administration.  That was 6-7 months before the crash of 2008.  Stock were at 12,638 in May 2008, and at 8,500 in May 2009.  Obama took over in January 2009 and the stimulus plan took effect in May or June.  The market was at 10,160 in May 2010 and at 12,569 in May 2011.  The market hit 13,000 in April of this year, and then did exactly the same thing it did when Bush was in office. The profit takers sold off the shares they speculated on when the market was growing - just like now. 


The "financial gurus" who write these articles either have no idea what is actually happening in the market, or they know the sell off is profit taking and want you to think its something else.  Like lemmings, you buy off on their crap and blame government. The market makers and major investors are not reading or listening to any of this BS and neither should you. 


What you and I should be concerned about is not the Presidential election, but how in the name of heaven crude oil is now at $85-90 a barrell and you are paying  the same price for gas at the pump as you did  in May-June of 2008 when a barrel of crude was $135 - $138.  How much do you think Main Street can grow when big oil charges $3.62 a gallon for gas they can produce at $2.62 a gallon?  Think people.  Jobs are being lost (or are not created) because Main Street and the average Joe is continuing to fund big oil and Wall Street. 

Jun 1, 2012 2:36PM



I agree with your post.  My position as sales manager for a large publically traded company was eliminated over a year ago when they exited the business I managed.  I have diligently sent out hundreds of resumes for positions all over the USA many of which pay far less than I made previously and were even a level or two below my experience level  The bottom line..I still haven't received an offer even though I have 25 years of successul experience in building multi-million dollar profitable businesses in multiple channels of distribution including industrial, retail, construction, OEM etc.  I am in my miid-50's and and am thoroughly convinced part of it has to do with age discrimination but you'll never prove it.  Secondly, companies are reluctant to hire and add any cost to payrolls but rather make those employees take on more responsiblity and workload or higher a younger worker for less pay.  I've been told that in today's market for every opening there are over 300 applicants so employers have the best of both worlds.  I continue to apply for positions and network but have also started my own business because I personally don't feel the job market will improve.  That's why whenever I read some "expert" say how the job market is improving, I know better as I am witnessing it every day along with millions of others.

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