Markets Give Back Recent Gains After Jobs Report

published The S&P 500 gave back some of its impressive year-to-date gains last week after a weaker-than-expected jobs report stoked fears among investors that the economic recovery in the United States is still not quite as strong as it could be. The Department of Labor announced on Friday that 115,000 jobs were created in April. Although this number was below expectations, the unemployment rate did drop to just 8.1 percent. In addition, the employment numbers for both February and March were revised upward, which gave some solace to investors who were expecting a better jobs report this month. This latest report continues the trend of a declining unemployment rate, which has fallen nearly two percent since its high in October of 2009. During that same time period, more than three million jobs have been created. The market received better news earlier in the week after the Institute for Supply Management reported on Tuesday that the manufacturing sector is growing at its fastest rate in nearly a year. With both employment and output showing healthy gains, investors are becoming more hopeful that the economy might be picking up steam. For the week ahead, investors are awaiting a speech on Thursday by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke in order to glean some information concerning the future course of interest rates. After the jobs report, it is expected that the Federal Reserve will continue to keep rates low in order to promote further economic growth. On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will release the producer price index for April, which is expected to increase by just 0.1 percent. If the actual number meets expectations, it will provide even more evidence to investors that the loose monetary policy of the Fed is not increasing inflation. It will be a relatively quiet week on the earnings front, but Disney, Cisco and Kohl's are among the big names that will report their quarterly profits. Among all the companies in the S&P 500 that have already reported so far this earnings season, approximately 70 percent of them have beaten analysts' expectations.

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Markets Give Back Recent Gains After Jobs Report

The S&P 500 gave back some of its impressive year-to-date gains last week after a weaker-than-expected jobs report stoked fears among investors that the economic recovery in the United States is still not quite as strong as it could be. The Department of Labor announced on Friday that 115,000 jobs were created in April. Although this number was below expectations, the unemployment rate did drop to just 8.1 percent. In addition, the employment numbers for both February and March were revised upward, which gave some solace to investors who were expecting a better jobs report this month.

Markets Fall Despite Positive News on Jobless Claims and Consumer Confidence

Despite several pieces of good economic news, equity markets in the United States suffered their second week of losses as the continued uncertainty in Europe and an unexpected $2 billion trading loss by the investment bank JP Morgan led investors to take some profits off the table. The job market showed signs of life this week when the Department of Labor announced that initial jobless claims1came in at just 370,000. Although this number was unchanged from last week's report, it did remain under the critical 400,000 level, which leads us to believe that employment growth may improve in the months ahead.

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