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Slow Job Growth Puts Brakes on the Dow

By Matt Thalman - Apr 5, 2013 at 9:00PM

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Disappointing jobs data brings the markets lower.

Market participants have been hit with poor jobs data three days in a row this week, and each seemed to be worse than the one before. On Wednesday, ADP released their report, which indicated that the private sector added only 158,000 jobs. Thursday, the Labor Department published weekly jobless claims that rose to 385,000 initial claims last week. And today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that only 88,000 new jobs were created in the month of March.

The three reports combined paint a really bad picture of the jobs marke,t and caused the market, in general, to decline today. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI 0.00%) lost 40 points, or 0.28%, while the S&P 500 performed slightly worse, losing 0.43%. The NASDAQ, unfortunately, took third place, after it lost 0.65% of its value.

Technology stocks really took it on the chin today, and to read about a few of the big losers, click here. Or to learn about some of the other Dow losers, continue reading below.

Shares of American Express (AXP -2.14%) fell 2.14% today on the heels of the poor jobs data. When the country is in a state of high unemployment and a poor jobs market, consumers tend to spend less money or, at the very least, borrow less money. That means credit cards are often put in the back of the wallet, and cash is used more frequently. With lower transaction counts, and less borrowed money to charge interest on, the credit card company may likely post lower revenue, resulting in lower profits.

The Home Depot (HD 0.66%) was also hit hard by the jobs report today. Shares lost 0.89% of their value after the report indicated that retail trade employment declined by 24,000 in the month of March, and 10,000 of that came directly from building material and garden supply stores. Although Home Depot announced that it was planning to hire 80,000 seasonal workers this year, the cold weather throughout the country during the month of March has surely pushed the hiring dates back.  

Another big loser today was Coca-Cola (KO 1.85%), as shares fell 1.13%. The soft drink king is up 10.57% since the start of 2013, but lagging behind the Dow's 11.15% gain year to date. Shares recently set a new 52-week high, and are still within striking distance of that mark, even after today's decline. Shares remain reasonably priced at 20 times past earnings, or 17 times expected earnings, and some consider the company's 2.8% dividend yield just as safe as treasury yields.

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Stocks Mentioned

Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return) Stock Quote
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return)
^DJI
$31,880.24 (0.00%) $0.00
The Coca-Cola Company Stock Quote
The Coca-Cola Company
KO
$64.02 (1.85%) $1.16
American Express Company Stock Quote
American Express Company
AXP
$155.63 (-2.14%) $-3.41
The Home Depot, Inc. Stock Quote
The Home Depot, Inc.
HD
$287.92 (0.66%) $1.89

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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