U.S. Stock Futures Point to Post-Jobs-Data Losses

April 9, 2012
Wall Street Journal
TOMI KILGORE

NEW YORK—U.S. stock futures fell sharply as investors prepared to trade on a disappointing government jobs report that was released on Good Friday.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures dropped 121 points, or 0.9%, to 12857. The futures had dropped 131 points, or 1%, in an abbreviated session following the release of the employment news early Friday. Trading during regular-session hours was closed for the Good Friday holiday.

Standard & Poor's 500-stock index futures lost 15 points, or 1.1%, to 1375 and Nasdaq 100 futures slid 29 points, or 1.1%, to 2725. S&P 500 futures ended Friday's abbreviated futures session at 1374.90 and Nasdaq 100 futures closed at 2723.75. Changes in stock futures don't always accurately predict stock moves after the opening bell.

Nonfarm payrolls grew by 120,000 in March, failing to reach the 200,000 level for the first time since November 2011. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had expected, on average, an increase of 203,000.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate fell to 8.2% from February's 8.3%, beating expectations of an unchanged reading and the lowest rate seen since January 2009. But the decline largely reflected that the pool of U.S. workers shrank as people gave up searching for jobs.

Most European markets were closed for the Easter Monday holiday.

Asian bourses were broadly lower in the wake of the weak U.S. jobs data. Japan's Nikkei Stock Average dropped 1.5% to suffer its fifth consecutive loss, while China's Shanghai Composite declined 0.9%. Several regional stock markets, including Australia and Hong Kong, were closed.

Crude-oil futures slid 1.6% to $101.62 a barrel, while gold futures rose 1% to $1642.80 an ounce. The U.S. dollar lost ground against the yen but edged higher against the euro.

In corporate news, shares of AOL AOL -0.16% soared 36% in premarket trading after the company said it agreed to sell more than 800 patents and related patent applications to Microsoft, MSFT +0.98% and grant Microsoft a license to its retained patents in exchange for $1.06 billion in cash. Microsoft shares slipped 0.8%.

Eli Lilly LLY +0.37% gained 1.8% after the company said its test used to diagnose Alzheimer's Disease was granted approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

AT&T T -0.61% slipped 0.6% after the company and union officials, representing about 40,000 workers, failed to come to terms on a new contract, but agreed to extend talks in order to avoid a walkout.

Illumina ILMN +0.10% gained 2.2% after the company said two advisory firms recommended shareholders reject the buyout bid from Swiss drug maker Roche, saying the bid is inadequate.

Great Wolf Resorts WOLF +13.37% said private investment firm KSL Capital Partners increased a bid to buy out the company to $7 a share from $6.25, topping the latest bid from Apollo Global Management APO +1.56% of $6.75 a share. The indoor waterpark company's stock was still inactive in the premarket.

Avon Products AVP +2.86% eased 0.3% after saying it appointed Sherilyn McCoy, formerly a long-time executive at Johnson & Johnson, JNJ -0.08% as its chief executive officer. J&J shares were still inactive ahead of the open.

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