Dow Jones Industrial Average: 20,656.10 (-6.85, -0.03%)
Reflects changes in 30 well-known stocks (e.g. Apple, General Electric, IBM, Exxon Mobil). Daily movements of +/- 100 points are considered to be large.
S&P 500: 2,355.54 (-1.95, -0.08%)
Reflects changes in 500 stocks that includes large companies across all sectors. Because it consists of so many diverse companies, it is considered one of the best representations of how the stock market is doing. Daily movements of +/- 10 points are considered to be large
NASDAQ: 5,877.81 (-1.14, -0.02%)
Reflects changes in an index of more than 3,000 stocks that consists mainly of technology companies. Stocks such as Google, Amazon.com, and Microsoft are traded on the NASDAQ. Daily movements of +/- 30 points are considered to be large.
The US created jobs last month, but at a pace well below expectations…
The US created 98,000 jobs in March, well below estimates for 180,000. Much of the weakness was shown in retail and construction jobs; as a result, the major east coast snowstorm experienced in March is anticipated to have played a role in the disappointment.
Why do we care? Well, job growth is obviously a key sign of a healthy economy. But in terms of the stock market, all eyes remain on the Federal Reserve (Fed) and how many more times they will be increasing interest rates this year. The Fed closely watches this monthly payroll report, as its goal is to set interest rates at a level that keeps the economy strong but without creating inflation. After raising interest rates by 25bps in both December and March, investors still expect two more 25bp hikes this year, with the probability of the next hike in June being measured at 61%.
The airstrike in Syria, after sending the Dow futures temporarily plunging 100 points on Thursday night, had little impact on stock market trading on Friday…
Despite the uncertainty created by the airstrikes in Syria, stock markets ultimately took the U.S. strike against Syria will be limited and predictable and will not lead to conflict with Russia.
Part of the geopolitical uncertainty was offset by some market strength in sectors such as energy (oil prices closed up over 1% on Friday) and defense (Raytheon, the company that makes the tomahawk missiles used in the strike, finished up 1.47% on Friday).
Of course, investors will be watching the situation closely, as any signs of escalation could put pressure on the stock market.