Investors have anxiously waited for today's employment report to lend some perspective to the Federal Reserve's most recent comments about letting up on quantitative-easing program. June's better-than-expected addition of 195,000 jobs initially sent stock markets soaring, especially given the upward revisions to April's and May's figures of another 70,000 jobs and a rise in the unemployment rate that reflected more workers entering the labor market. Yet the stock market rally didn't last long, as bond investors responded negatively to the news, concluding that a reduction in Fed stimulus will come sooner rather than later. Bond yields on the 10-year Treasury soared by a fifth of a percentage point to 2.7% -- an extremely large move in a market where most moves are measured in hundredths of a percentage point -- and as of 10:55 a.m. EDT, the Dow Jones Industrials (DJINDICES:^DJI) had given up nearly all their gains, trading up just 14 points.
Within the Dow, most stocks are having a quiet day. Home Depot is down 0.2%, even though the employment report highlighted increased employment in building-materials and garden-supply stores: A gain of 9,000 jobs in the segment contributed to overall retail job growth of 37,000 in June. Similarly, Travelers has fallen 0.3%, with the government reporting that insurance carriers added 6,000 jobs as part of the 17,000-job rise in financial employment overall.
But the real action continued to come from markets beyond stocks. iShares Barclays 20+ Year Treasury (NYSEMKT:TLT), a barometer of the longest-maturity portion of the bond market, has plunged 2.4% to hit its worst level in about two years as bond investors continue their flight from fixed-income securities in anticipation of further rate increases.
Precious-metals prices also took a huge hit from the report. Gold and silver have fallen sharply as investors assume that higher interest rates will draw investors away from metals and reduce the cheap money that has helped finance their bull run in recent years. SPDR Gold (NYSEMKT:GLD) is down 2.6%, and not only has the price of the gold it owns fallen sharply, but the amount of gold it owns has plunged from more than 43 million ounces at the beginning of the year to just 31 million ounces now.
Don't just look at the Dow
Today's action shows how important it is to look beyond the Dow at what's happening in other financial markets. Often, the real story won't be reflected in the Dow, and you'll miss out on important information if you don't broaden your horizons.
Fool contributor Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter @DanCaplinger. The Motley Fool recommends Home Depot. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.