The holiday weekend wasn't long enough to make the market forget about Friday's poor job numbers.
The market is sharply down on the first trading session since the government revealed that only 120,000 jobs were added last month, well below the 200,000 estimated and a mere half of February's 240,000. Did the warm winter pull seasonal hiring forward? Is this just a blip on the radar? Or will the recovery stall out again? No one knows the answers yet, but if we are falling back, let's hope the Federal reserve hasn't taken more stimulus off the table, as no help will come from Congress in an election year.
With that in mind, let's take a closer look at how the major indexes are faring so far today and drill down on a few stocks caught up in today's bloodbath.
Gain / Loss
Gain / Loss Percentage
Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI)
S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC)
Source: Yahoo! Finance.
Although fellow Fool Morgan Housel digs deep into the job report and finds -- shockingly enough -- that it's not as bad as the headlines suggest, the possibility of rough economic waters ahead has hit commodities and bank stocks like a ton of bricks.
Dow component Bank of America (NYS: BAC) declined 4% in early trading and the Direxion Daily Financial Bull 3X (NYS: FAS) ultra-long ETF plunged nearly 6% before paring some of those losses. Unsurprisingly, bellwethers whose bottom lines depend on the economy regaining its momentum are also having a rough go of it, including heavy equipment maker Caterpillar (NYS: CAT) ; its shares are off almost 3%. Caterpillar's earnings report and conference call later this month will be of particular interest for investors looking for firsthand insight into the state of the global recovery.
Investors should remember that one jobs report does not ruin a recovery, although if next month's jobs data doesn't reassert the positive trend, the markets will get increasingly skittish. But even if the bears wrestle back control, it could present an attractive buying opportunity for the next run-up as our slow and steady rebound continues.
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