Stock futures in the US fall ahead of employment data as the gloomy China trade report fuels concerns over global growth


US equities ended Friday for a fifth consecutive session. The Dow suffered its longest defeat since June after a disappointing report on employment and a slump in Chinese exports sparked fears of slowing global growth.

What were the most important indices?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average

DJIA, -0.09%

bombarded intraday lows by 22.99 points or 0.1% to 25,450.24. The S & P 500 index

SPX, -0.21%

5.86 points or 0.2% to 2,743.07, the worst losing series since November, and the Nasdaq Composite Index

COMP, -0.18%

fell 13.32 points or 0.2% to 7,408.14, marking the weakest stretch since April.

This week, both the Dow and the S & P 500 fell 2.2% and the Nasdaq 2.5%.

The five-day skid for the Dow was the longest since an eight-session skid ended on June 21st. The decline for the S & P 500 was the longest with five days, as a similar series ended on November 14th. For the Nasdaq The five-day loss was the longest slip since April 25.

What drove the market?

Investors were surprised by a surprisingly weak number of jobs After the Labor Department announced, the US economy added just 20,000 new jobs in February, well below the 178,000 forecasts by economists in a MarketWatch poll.

Read: "Do not panic" – economists say the job report was not as bad as the 20,000 headline suggests

The unemployment rate dropped from 4% to 3.8%, while the average hourly wages of workers rose by 11 cents an hour. This is the biggest gain since the end of the 2009 recession.

See: The Fed pause now lasts in September on the occasion of a weak employment report

The report is based on weak data from China. The second largest economy in the world fell by 20% in February after a plus of 9.1% in January. Officials blamed the slump for declining demand and some New Year holiday distortions. However, economists said that even if these two months are added together, the data looks weak.

China's news contributes to concerns about global growth. Investors are still affected by a rather than expected European Central Bank announced new measures to support a weakening economy on Thursday.

Read: Why the ECB's surprise policy shook global equity markets

Other data on Friday showed German production orders fell sharply in Januaryalthough the data was collected for December.

In the meantime, there was uncertainty about a trade agreement between the US and China. Washington and Beijing have yet to arrange a summit date to finalize the interim agreement. The US ambassador to China, Terry Branstad, said in an interview with The Wall Street Journalsuggesting that more work remains. Branstad said the negotiators needed to further narrow the gap in their positions, including enforcing a potential deal before a summit.

Separately new construction Recovered in January, after a show weak in December, the Commerce Department reported. Housing starts in January at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.23 million. This represents an increase of 18.4% compared to the revised figures of December.

What did the analysts say?

"Job growth is slowing down, no doubt," said JJ Kinahan, TD Ameritrade's Chief Market Strategist, to MarketWatch. However, he warned against reading too much in a report, as the numbers have been fluctuating lately, possibly due to the closure of the government and the recent extreme weather in the Midwest.

"The weakness of jobs has focused on construction and hospitality sectors, which are heavily dependent on the weather," he said. "That helped make that number go crazy. "

Kinahan also argued that stock index futures fell on job news, but a stronger decline took place after weak Chinese exports and comments by the US ambassador to China indicated that trading was not imminent. "This reaffirms that the key story of the markets is tariffs and slows global growth."

"These [jobs report] It's going to be hard to digest – it's really mixed, "wrote Mike Loewengart, investment strategist at E-Trade Financial Corp." It was great to see wages high because that was a sticking point last year and while job growth for February was a lot It is encouraging to be raised both in December and in January. "

"The bottom line is that fragile employment data is a sign of stagnant growth that could potentially feed into other fundamentals such as retail sales," he continued. "Combine that with next week's CPI data, and if that's disappointed, it will be an important signal that a weakening economy is a real trend and is starting to show in the data."

Which stocks were the focus?

In the face of widespread pressure on energy stocks, stocks of Exxon Mobil Corp.,

XOM, -1.43%

belonged to the biggest losers of the Dow and sank by 1.4% downgraded by Cowen from Outperform.

DowDuPont Inc,

DWDP, + 0.29%

Stocks reversed, gaining 0.3% after the commodity and chemical giant's board approved the separation Foundation of a new listed company called Dow. The new company will be acting independently on or about March 20.

Shares of Costco Wholesale Corp.,

COSTS, + 5.09%

climbed 5.1% after the mass retailer reported second-quarter fiscal results Thursday, which exceeded expectations.

Great Lots Inc,

LARGE, + 13.63%

Equities rose 14% after the retailer posted sales and profits in the fourth quarter outperforming Wall Street estimates.

Shares of Octa Inc,

OKTA, -3.42%

fell 3.4% after the Identity Manager released disappointing earnings forecasts.

Shares of National Beverage Corp.,

FIZZ, -14.65%

fell 15% after the La Croix Seltzer Water manufacturer released the third quarter Financial results that fell far short of expectations,

How have other markets acted?

Asian stocks closed lower across the board, led by a big loss for the Shanghai Composite

SHCOMP, -4.40%

and a 2% decline for the Nikkei 225

NIK, -2.01%

European shares pursued global shares lowerwith the Stoxx Europe 600 Index

SXXP, -0.89%

0.9% fall.

Investors sought protection in safe-haven assets such as the Japanese yen

USDJPY, -0.37%

Which charged the US dollar

DXY, -0.24%

gold prices

GCJ9, + 0.97%

But this also benefited oil

CLJ9, -1.09%

Prices declined sharply to ensure global growth.

-Barbara Kollmeyer contributed to this article

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