U.S. stock markets took a beating today. Coming off a relatively soft day yesterday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average
The culprit? A disappointing jobs report on non-farm payrolls from the Labor Department. Last month, the U.S. economy added only 115,000 jobs, leaving the official unemployment rate sitting stubbornly at 8.1%. The panicked selling forced a spike in volatility as well. The market's "fear gauge," the VIX
Around the markets
Individual stocks didn't fare much better. Tech companies largely led the Dow's southbound march. Cisco Systems
The Dow started off the year hot, having risen a total of 8.1% year to date. However, coming off an earnings season that's had its share of ups and downs, the Dow has been effectively flat over the past month. In fact last week, U.S. economic growth slowed in the first quarter of 2012. People are clearly concerned over the strength of the U.S. economy, and for good reason.
What it all means
While it's certainly easy to get lost in the negativity, it's important to keep in mind that the economy is expanding, albeit slowly, and that trend does look poised to continue. Coming into an election year, investors certainly have a lot to be hopeful for. In fact, the Fool thinks it's identified four stocks that could explode after the election. We made it free for our readers, so access your copy today.