A day off for Wall Street traders


Wall StreetUS stock markets are closed today in observance of Good Friday. That’s probably just as well, since the economic news Friday morning might have sent stock prices lower.

Yes, the US unemployment rate dropped a tenth of a percentage point for March to 8.2%, but a lot of that appeared to be from people giving up their search for work. The monthly employment report from the US Department of Labor showed that non-farm employment increased by 120,000 last month – the first time since November that the gain had been below 200,000.

And since private economists had been looking for another month of more than 200,000 in new jobs, the Labor Department report was a disappointment.

Headlines by major newspapers and the wire services emphasized the negative. LA Times: “Job growth slows sharply in March.” Reuters: “US employment gains slow, jobless rate drops.” Wall Street Journal: “Job growth loses steam.” The Washington Post offered the White House spin on the numbers: “Obama welcomes new jobs report, but warns that economy will still face ‘ups and downs’.”

RBR-TVBR observation: Barring any other news occurring over the Easter weekend to counteract the jobs report, you can likely expect stock prices to fall as the markets reopen on Monday morning. But three days is a long time for the fast-moving markets.