Today, Austin looks at the one reason the markets traded sharply lower -- jobs. Tepid growth of only 80,000 non-farm payrolls was just low enough to upset the market, but not so low that investors see it as an automatic push for additional quantitative easing. That leaves us with a stubborn 8.2% unemployment rate.
Unsurprisingly cyclical and speculative stocks, like Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT ) and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) , were the worst performing stocks on the Dow today, while stable dividend aristocrats McDonald’s (NYSE: MCD ) and Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT ) were the best performing Dow components.
At the end of the day, though, this is all market noise. Watching the market swing up and down is no way to invest, ever. Instead, investors should buy and hold great stocks for the long run, like The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2012. It’s our chief investment officer’s highest conviction stock for the next year, and it will probably be yours, too, after you read his reasoning by by clicking here now.