Traders had a lot to deal with today. First of all, we got the non-farm payroll number this morning which was better than expected as 288,000 new jobs were created in April. Now, the question is-is this just a rebound from the bad weather related numbers of previous months, or have we finally broken out in job creation? Also, the unemployment rate fell to 6.3% which on the surface sounds pretty good. On the other hand, the participation rate (those who have not given up looking for a job) continues to shrink, distorting the unemployment rate number. If all that was not enough, escalating violence in Ukraine had traders on edge as the session wore on, especially heading into a weekend. Despite or because of all the confusion, stocks drifted in negative territory for most of the afternoon.
By the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 46 points to finish the day at 16,512. The S&P 500 was down 2 to close at 1881. Gold was up $15 to trade at $1298 per ounce, while oil was up $.37 to trade at $99.79 per barrel WTI.
After all is said and done, though, stocks find themselves near or at all-time highs. The bears have stalled the bulls charge this year, but have not inflicted much damage. Let’s see how next week unfolds.
Have a great weekend everyone.