US jobs data deepen
Worse than expected US jobs data added to concerns over the global economy on Friday, sending stocks even lower. The 80,000 increase in payrolls in June was slightly below market expectations for an increase of about 90,000. May’s increase was revised down, meaning the US economy has added just 75,000 jobs a month in the April-June quarter, compared with 226,000 a month in the first quarter.
The figures reinforced the idea that the US economy has lost traction. That’s important, especially at a time when Europe appears headed back to recession and the Chinese economy is coming off the boil. Rising concerns over the global economy this week have snuffed out the relief generated by last week’s European Union summit, which was generally seen as a positive step in any resolution to Europe’s debt crisis.
Instead of cheering the rate cuts in Europe and China on Thursday, investors worried that the activism of the central banks may be an indicator of a bleaker economic outlook. Following the payrolls figures, stocks in Europe saw their losses rise. Germany’s DAX was down 1 percent at 6,471 while the CAC-40 fell 0.9 percent at 3,199. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was 0.5 percent lower at 5,667. Wall Street was poised for a lower opening with both Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures down 0.6 percent.
Since the June figures are the last payrolls data before the US Federal Reserve meets again, the disappointing number is likely to push investors to think the Fed may also provide more stimulus to the economy. Even so, analysts aren’t sure that would help shore up market sentiment as much as the Fed’s previous moves to ease monetary policy have done. “Given the market reaction to the combined central bank efforts yesterday you have to ask yourself how effective any Fed action would be,” said Michael Hewson, markets analyst at CMC Markets.
The euro lost some ground against the dollar after the figures, as investors reined back their appetite for risk. The euro was down 0.4 percent at $1.2353. Earlier in Asia, markets had their first chance to respond to Thursday’s central bank moves, and in particular the People’s Bank of China’s surprise decision to cut interest rates again for the second time in a month.
As in Europe and the US, the response was lackluster as investors worried that the rate cut was a signal from the Chinese monetary authorities that the slowdown in the world’s secondlargest economy may be more pronounced than already thought. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index fell 0.7 percent to 9,020.75 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was marginally lower at 19,800.64. South Korea’s Kospi slipped 0.9 percent to 1,858.20. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 dropped 0.3 percent to 4,157.80. China’s Shanghai Composite added 1 percent to 2,223.58. Oil prices dropped amid the global growth worries ó benchmark oil for August delivery was down $1.74 at $85.58 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.