U.S. stock benchmarks opened modestly lower Friday after the release of an employment report that showed bigger-than-expected job losses in March, reflecting the coming economic devastation from new strain of coronavirus that has caused personal and business activity halts.
The March jobs report showed that 701,000 Americans lost their jobs last month, far exceeding estimates for around 83,0000. It was the first decline in payrolls since September 2010 and not far from the worst month of job losses during the 2007-09 recession.
The unemployment rate rose to 4.4% from 3.5%, but the unemployment picture is likely far worse even that the March report after a report on jobless claims released on Thursday showed that 6.6 million people submitted applications for unemployment benefits last week.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was off 126 points, or 0.5%, at the open near 21,309, the S&P 500 index was trading 0.4% lower at 2,518, while the Nasdaq Composite Index was retreating 0.2% at 7,470.
However, the market's reaction has been more subdued than some had feared, suggesting that investors may be trying to discount coming data that likely will be grim as the impact of the spread of COVID-19 on the markets and the economy sets in.
Source : Market Watch