Friday Trading Cheat Sheet: 3 Stories That Moved Markets

It was a red day for the markets on Friday. An unexpectedly weak employment report seemed to upset investor optimism in the U.S. economic recovery.

DJIA: -0.28% to 14,565.20 S&P 500: -0.43% to 1,553.28 NASDAQ: -0.66% to 3,203.86
Gold: -$1.10 to $1,552.40 per ounce WTI Crude:  -0.28% to $93.00 per barrel U.S. 10-Year: -0.057 points to 1.707

Here are three stories that helped shape the markets today:

1) March served up another heaping pile of disappointing jobs data on Friday morning. The employment situation report, issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, showed that the United States added just 88,000 non-farm payrolls for the month. This is less than half of consensus estimates for about 200,000 additions, and about a third of February’s upwardly-revised figure of 268,000.

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The headline U-3 unemployment rate did drop from 7.7 to 7.6 percent, but this does not necessarily reflect job growth. In this case — highlighted by tremendously poor payroll growth — the reduction in the unemployment rate is due to a drop in labor force participation… (Read more.)

2) The housing recovery story has been gaining momentum in recent months. With the intervention of the Federal Reserve, home prices are up and interest rates are down near historic lows. However, many Americans remain skeptical about the real estate market, as memories of the crash are still fresh.

There is clearly a difference in the type of recovery taking place on Wall Street and Main Street. Stocks have recaptured their previous highs made more than five years ago, but home prices are still well below their glory days of the housing bubble. As a result, almost 60 percent of Americans believe the nation is still in the midst of a housing crisis, according to a new report sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation. Nearly 20 percent of those polled said the worst is yet to come… (Read more.)

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3) Next week, President Barack Obama will propose changes to Social Security and other benefit programs when he releases his 2014 budget. The details are not due to be released until April 10, but a senior administration official confirmed some key points on Friday.

The proposal would cut the deficit by $1.8 trillion over 10 years, from an expected 5.5 percent of GDP this year to about 1.7 percent of GDP by 2023. This will be achieved by editing a mixture of federal inlays and outlays — such as ending certain tax provisions and implementing the sequestration spending cuts — and until recently, afforded few GOP calls for entitlement cuts… (Read more.)

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