The market experienced its worst week of 2012 on the back of a worse than anticipated unemployment report.
The S&P 500 fell 1.6% to 1,369.10, extending its weekly drop to 2.4%. The Dow slumped 168.32 or 1.3%, to 13,038.27 Friday.
Employers added 115,000 jobs in April, the Labor Department stated on Friday. It was the third straight month in which hiring had slowed, intensifying fears the U.S. recovery is truly losing momentum.
In addition, even a slight drop in the unemployment rate to 8.1% had a dark tone because the fall was due entirely to people dropping out of the workforce.
“The bottom line is you don’t have evidence that this economy has reached escape velocity,” said Robert Tipp, an investment strategist at Prudential Fixed Income.
Analysts had expected 170,000 new jobs in April, and the shortfall could open the door a bit wider for the Federal Reserve to step up efforts to help the economy with another round of quantitative easing.
The employment report included another ominous numbers. The participation rate, a measure of how many Americans are looking for work, fell to a 30-year low at 63.6% of the population.
But kicking the can down the road once again isn’t the ultimate answer. The economy is not growing as fast as needed and with continued woes in Europe there could be another rough road ahead. This of course is just speculation, but when stripped down to its core the economy does not look promising over the coming months.
Technical Mumbo Jumbo
The S&P pushed through 1370 and is now on track to hit 1350. If the major market index is able to push through that level I would expect to see a test of the 1290 area. However, I do expect to see a short-term bounce over the near-term only because of the oversold nature of the market. But, once that kicks back into a neutral state which might only take half a trading day, I expect the selling to start back up.
Remember, sell in May is upon us and I expect to see the historical norms to once again play out this year. One of the perks is that volatility as see by the VIX, VXX and VXN should increase which should afford some great opportunities to sell premium.
The economic calendar is light next week, but elections in Europe should stir the market pot during the early part of the week. One thing is certain next week should be very interesting…possibly the most interesting week of the year.