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 U.S. trade deficit unexpectedly shrank in February, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The U.S. International Trade In Goods and Services report, released on Friday morning, showed that the trade balance narrowed from -$44.4 billion in January to -$43.0 billion in February, beating out expectations for a widening of the gap to -$44.8 billion.
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…
Here’s your Cheat Sheet to today’s top stock stories:
Hanesbrands (NYSE:HBI) climbed 3.81 percent after the company announced that it will initiate a quarterly dividend of $0.20 per share. Hanes Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Richard A. Noll commented in a statement: “Initiating a quarterly dividend is a substantial company milestone made possible by strong strategic execution, successful debt reduction and cash-flow generation, and margin-improvement prospects.”
Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) closed down 1.48 percent on Friday. The company announced that chairman of the board Ray Lane and two other directors will step down. Lane commented: “After reflecting on the stockholder vote last month, I’ve decided to step down as executive chairman to reduce any distraction from HP’s ongoing turnaround.” (Read more.)
F5 Networks (NASDAQ:FFIV) fell 19 percent after the networking company announced that second-quarter results are expected to come in below guidance. The company is now expecting revenue of $350.2 million instead of in a range between $370 and $380 million. Earnings are expected in a range between $0.79 to $0.80 per share, instead of in a range between $1.06 and $1.07 per share.
Disney (NYSE:DIS) will reportedly be laying off workers from its studio and consumer product divisions within the next two weeks. People with knowledge of the matter tell Reuters that the cuts will be focused in the marketing and home video units. This follows news that Disney will begin layoffs at the recently-acquired video-game arm of Lucas Film.
Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) stock climbed as much as 1 percent on Friday afternoon despite equivalent losses in the NASDAQ. With this as punctuation, shares of the social network are looking to log five-day gains of more than 6 percent, fueled by the launch of Facebook Home and buoyed by a bullish report on its mobile ad revenue prospects… (Read more.)
International Trade Commission Judge Thomas Pender has ruled in Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) favor over a key patented technology feature that Samsung (SSNLF.PK) infringed on by including it in its smartphones and tablets. However, the judge’s preliminary ruling regarding the patented text-selection feature must be reviewed and approved by a full ITC commission before the decision is enforceable… (Read more.)