As much as U.S. investors have paid attention to goings-on around the world in recent months, when push comes to shove, it's all about what's happening close to home. This morning's much-anticipated jobs report disappointed investors, with the unemployment rate mired at 8.2% and only 80,000 new jobs created in June. As a result, the stock market quickly sold off, and just before 10:45 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI ) were off almost 150 points.
Among Dow stocks, the usual suspects reacted badly to the employment report. Alcoa (NYSE: AA ) and Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT ) both fell around 3%, as it becomes apparent that both companies now face the double danger of slowdowns both in formerly fast-growing emerging markets around the world as well as in their home economy. Until economic activity picks back up convincingly, Caterpillar and Alcoa could continue to suffer for quite a while.
Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) also declined around 3% this morning. A report from DigiTimes suggests that the company may be planning to release a tablet based on ARM Holdings' chip architecture using the soon-to-be-released Windows RT operating system. Yet the report goes against an earlier announcement last month that the company wouldn't go in this direction, again raising questions about the company's leadership and strategic direction. Until HP figures out whether to remain an important hardware provider or to move toward higher-margin IT services, shares will continue to whipsaw back and forth.
Finally, JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM ) dropped about 1% after it closed several of its European money market funds to new investors. The notice from the bank pointed out that the recent rate cut from the European Central Bank raised the possibility of the funds producing negative returns for investors. That's a concern that has plagued U.S. money market funds for quite a while and has made alternatives to such funds look much more attractive.
Keep your day job
Don't put your job at risk by slacking off at work staring at the stock market's latest ups and downs. Instead, use a strategy that can give you more time to do the things that are really important to you. The Fool's latest special report can show you how to profit from the Dow by picking out the three Dow stocks investors can count on for dividend income and growth. The report is absolutely free, so just click here and get your copy today.