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Apr 5, 2013

MarketWatch I Wall Street at Close Report ; April 5, 2013.: U.S. stocks stumble on subpar jobs report

By Kate Gibson, MarketWatch 
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) U.S. stocks fell on Friday, with the S&P 500 index sustaining its worst weekly hit this year, after the government said the far fewer Americans found jobs in March than analysts had estimated. 

“Welcome back to tempered expectations. We don’t think the wheels have fallen off the economy, but we don’t think it ever had the momentum that some people believed,” said Bruce McCain, chief investment strategist at Key Private Bank in Cleveland.

“That’s what makes for market corrections,” he added. 

Payrolls increased by 88,000 last month following a revised 268,000 gain in February, with the disappointing report following two others this week that also cast a negative view on the labor market. 

“We can now add the monthly employment report to the growing list of data points that simply haven’t met expectations,” Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG LLC in New York, said in emailed comments.
After falling 171 points, the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA -0.28% recovered the lions share of its losses to end at 14,565.25, down 0.3% for the session and 0.1% for the week. 

Eighteen of the blue-chip index’s 30 components lost ground, including Alcoa Inc. AA -.00% , which unofficially starts the first-quarter earnings-reporting season on Monday, after the market close. 

Down 1% for the week, its largest weekly loss since December, the S&P 500 index SPX -0.43% declined 6.7 points, or 0.4%, to 1,553.28, with technology companies hardest hit and utilities the best performing of its 10 major sectors. 

F5 Networks Inc. FFIV -19.03% plummeted 19% a day after projecting second-quarter earnings and revenue well below consensus estimates.

Week ahead: Fed, earnings reports
The Fed releases minutes from its March meeting and earnings seasons kicks off. Polya Lesova discusses the coming week's economic events. 

The Nasdaq Composite COMP -0.66% lost 21.12 points, or 0.7%, to 3,203.85, with the technology-heavy index off 2% for the week, its biggest weekly drop since the week ended Nov. 9, 2012.
Decliners ran just ahead of advancers on the New York Stock Exchange, where nearly 726 million shares traded. Eastern. Composite volume approached 3.4 billion. 

The recent series of less-than-hoped for economic reports increases the odds that the Federal Reserve will stay the course and continue its monthly purchases of $85 billion of Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities. 

The jobs number “is truly disappointing and suggests we’re a long way from the normalized growth the Fed in particular seems to be striving for,” said McCain. 

The Fed’s bond-buying program, along with measures from other global central banks, are among the forces that have helped drive up the price of equities this year, with the S&P 500 up 8.3% for the year. 

Wall Street stocks rose on Thursday as investors cheered a massive stimulus program announced by Japan, helping it brush aside downbeat news on jobless claims. The Bank of Japan’s move to begin on a course of record easing had it lining up with the policies of the U.S. central bank, the European Central Bank and the Bank of England.
Stocks in Japan extended a rally on Friday, with the Nikkei 225 index JP:NIK +1.58% finishing up 3.5% for the week on the heels of the unprecedented stimulus. The dollar USDJPY +1.26% stretched its climb versus the Japanese yen, though the greenback posted losses against most other major currencies following the weak jobs report. 

Kate Gibson is a reporter for MarketWatch, based in New York.

DealBook P.M. Edition; April 5, 2013.: Week in Review: Lessons From Top Women on Wall Street Home |Business Day| Video The New York Times

Friday, April 5, 2013
Week in Review: Lessons From Top Women on Wall Street Blame abounds over a flawed foreclosure review. | A lawsuit by the ex-wife of the SAC Capital founder is revived on appeal. | DealBook's special section: women in a man's world. | S.E.C. sets rules for disclosures using social media. | Andrew Ross Sorkin asks a $25 million question over a bid for Dell. | Pay for boards at banks soars amid cutbacks.


A look back on our reporting of the past week's highs and lows in finance.
Mergers & Acquisitions
UBS Said to Be Lender in $9.4 Billion Ping An Deal How was a Thai company able to complete one of the biggest deals ever in China? It was helped by a $5.5 billion loan from the Swiss banking giant UBS, according to people briefed on the deal.
Andrew Ross Sorkin.
DealBook Column: A $25 Million Question Over a Bid for Dell Andrew Ross Sorkin said that the Blackstone Group told Dell that it would not even consider bidding unless Dell offered to pay the firm's expenses, up to a whopping $25 million.
Number of Mergers in First Quarter Was Fewest Since 2003 For all of the improvements in corporate profits and the economy, executives still seem to lack the confidence needed to sign big deals.
Investment Banking
The trading floor at J.P. Morgan in Mexico City. As Europe lags and America idles, Mexico's growth prospects are attracting international investors.
After Stagnation, a Revival for Mexico's Financial Sector Mexico's growth prospects are attracting investment banks and investors hunting for ways to gain greater exposure to international markets.
The Trade: Finding the Human Factor in Bank Risk Jesse Eisinger of ProPublica talks with John Breit, the former top risk manager at Merrill Lynch, who says that mathematical models fail because they don't account for human frailty.
At Banks, Board Pay Soars Amid Cutbacks Banks and compensation experts say the complexity of the business justifies the compensation, but critics say the increases come at a time when bank boards have less power than ever.
Hedge Funds
Deal Professor: Upping the Ante in a Play for a Stronger Board Steven M. Davidoff says that hedge funds are promising to pay their director candidates millions of dollars if they can improve a company's performance.
Judge Approves MF Global Liquidation Plan Judge Martin Glenn of the United States Bankruptcy Court on Friday cleared the way for the defunct brokerage firm to sell its remaining assets and return money to creditors.
Trustee in MF Global Case Delays Suit Against Its Chief Even while accusing Jon S. Corzine and other former MF Global executives of "negligent conduct," Louis Freeh is said to be entering mediation next week with Mr. Corzine's lawyers.
Trevor Morrison, the new dean of New York University's law school.
Columbia Professor Is Chosen Dean of N.Y.U.'s Law School Trevor W. Morrison will succeed Richard L. Revesz, who is stepping down on May 31 after 11 years.
Lawyers for Enron's Skilling Are Trying to Reduce His 24-Year Prison Sentence Jeffrey K. Skilling, the former Enron chief executive, could be released from prison early under a possible agreement with the government, according to a notice on the Justice Department's Web site.
Martoma, Former SAC Employee, Changes Lawyers in Insider Case Mathew Martoma, the former SAC Capital Advisors portfolio manager facing insider trading charges, has switched lawyers, replacing Charles A. Stillman with Richard M. Strassberg of Goodwin Procter.
Blame Abounds Over a Flawed Foreclosure Review Private consultants and federal regulators are facing a fresh round of scrutiny by the Government Accountability Office after botching a review of foreclosures.
The ex-wife of Steven Cohen, of SAC Capital, accuses him of hiding millions of dollars in assets at the time of their divorce.
Suit by Ex-Wife of SAC's Cohen Revived on Appeal Steven A. Cohen's ex-wife accused him of hiding millions of dollars in assets when they divorced and claimed his hedge fund, SAC Capital Advisors, was a "racketeering scheme."
Former Goldman Trader Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud Matthew M. Taylor admitted to fabricating trades to conceal a risky position that led to about $120 million in losses for the bank.
In Mortgage Case, Dexia Claims Against JPMorgan Barred In a major victory for JPMorgan Chase, Judge Jed Rakoff dismissed claims by Dexia, a Belgian-French financial institution that had sued the nation's largest bank over losses on $1.6 billion in 65 residential mortgage investments.
Report Faults 'at All Costs' Attitude at Barclays The push to change Barclays from a predominantly British retail bank to a global financial giant created a culture that put profits before customers, an independent review has found.
Reed Hastings, chief of Netflix, used Facebook to brag about his company.
S.E.C. Sets Rules for Disclosures Using Social Media The Securities and Exchange Commission cleared companies' use of Facebook and Twitter for announcements, following an investigation into a social media post by Netflix's chief.
Law Firm Partner Accused of Sexual Harassment Fires Back Juan Monteverde and his law firm, Faruqi & Faruqi, filed a counterclaim in Federal District Court in Manhattan on Tuesday, accusing a junior lawyer of defamation and damaging his and the firm's reputation.
11 Partners Leave Bingham for Sidley Eleven lawyers who work in Bingham McCutchen's highly regarded securities-enforcement practice are leaving the firm to join Sidley & Austin.
DealBook Special Section
Graphic: A Suite of Their Own Women make up more than half of the work force on Wall Street. But breaking into the highest ranks is still largely a man's sport.
DealBook Column: Women in a Man's World Andrew Ross Sorkin talks with Irene Dorner, chief executive of HSBC USA, who says the few women in the upper levels of Wall Street should have been better role models for the generation that followed.
White Collar Watch: Women Lead the Way in White-Collar Law Peter J. Henning says that the roster of faculty members who have helped shape white-collar crime as an important field of legal study is made up largely of women.
A Law Firm Stands Out for Its Work, Not Its Gender Makeup At Brune & Richard in Manhattan, six of the nine partners are women, but its lawyers say there is nothing distinct about the firm's femaleness.
ADDING WOMEN Joan S. Solotar heads external relations and strategy at the Blackstone Group and oversees a dinner series and events for female employees.
Chipping Away at the Glass Ceiling in Private Equity Private equity firms are still male-dominated places, but women are navigating the career ladder, and some are striking out on their own.
Deal Professor: Why So Few Women Reach the Executive Rank Steven M. Davidoff says that finding ways to increase the number of female executives depends on what is seen as the reason that number is so low.
Reshma Saujani, right, founder of Girls Who Code, encouraged young women at a recruiting event to apply to the program.
To Close Tech's Gender Gap, Teaching Girls to Code A recent crop of programs is trying a new approach to increasing the number of women in the technology field: Teaching teenage girls how to write computer code.
After Boom-Boom Room, Fresh Tactics to Fight Bias Landmark suits like the so-called boom-boom room case are not as prevalent now. But women who face discrimination are pursuing their legal options behind the scenes and many cases are handled in private proceedings run by arbitration panels.
To Meet Norway's Quotas, a Crash Course in Board Business A 16-day program, driven by a government mandate, teaches potential board candidates about corporate governance and lets them form networks.
HELPING HAND Sallie Krawcheck says women need sponsors more than mentors. Mentors will offer advice and guidance; sponsors will pull women's careers along.
Lessons on Being a Success on Wall St., and Being a Casualty Sallie Krawcheck, veteran of meteoric rises and falls, says women need sponsors to counteract the comfort zones in which men seek out other men because they have more in common.
For the latest updates, go to »

In Debt: A Bankruptcy, and Now a Pension Test Stephen J. Lubben says that the question is whether the bondholders can get the bankruptcy court to force Stockton out of Calpers, perhaps as the price for continuing its Chapter 9 case.
Deal Professor: Little Accountability for Directors, Despite Poor Performance Steven M. Davidoff says that directors at financial institutions faced little consequences for their poor decisions, before and after the financial crisis.
HMV Stores to Be Sold to Private Equity Firm The private equity firm Hilco Consumer Capital agreed on Friday to buy more than 140 stores of the British music retailer HMV as part of a rescue deal after the company went into bankruptcy earlier this year.
Bangkok SkyTrain Fund Raises $2.1 Billion in I.P.O. The offering, by an infrastructure fund controlled by the rail operator BTS Group, priced at the top of its marketed range, and ranks as the biggest ever new listing by a Thai company.
DealBook Video
Week in Verse: 'It's A Man's Man's Man's World' James Brown's chauvinistic 1966 song has become a staple of female artists, including Christina Aguilera's posthumous tribute at the 2007 Grammys.

MarketWatch I European Stock Markets at Close Report; April 5, 2013.: U.S. jobs data send Europe stocks to one-month low

By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch 
LONDON (MarketWatch) European stock markets on Friday dropped the most since late October, extending losses after U.S. nonfarm payrolls saw a much weaker-than-expected rise. 

The Stoxx Europe 600 index XX:SXXP -1.57% slid 1.6% to close at 287.13, the lowest level in more than a month. On the week, the index dropped 2.3%. 

“The loss is very much driven by U.S. payrolls,” said James Ashley, senior European economist at RBC Capital Markets.

What the jobs numbers mean
A look behind the numbers in the March jobs report, and how the Federal Reserve may respond. Photo: AP. 

“The recovery continues, but this is a reality check showing that the pace of recovery is slower than expected. Equity markets had been pricing in a too-strong recovery and growth in the U.S., and Europe is not particularly strong. It’s hard to see how you’ll get returns when you have weak underlying economic dynamics,” he said. 

Data from the U.S. Labor Department showed just 88,000 jobs were added to the economy in March, far short of expectations for a gain of 190,000 and the smallest increase in nine months. While the unemployment rate ticked down to 7.6% from 7.7%, it reflected fewer Americans looking for work, according to the data. 

“There had been some talk that the [Federal Reserve] would start to taper off their asset purchases because the data had started to improve, but these numbers show that any such move would be premature at this stage. Right now, based on our outlook, a fairly lackluster recovery is what we should expect in the next quarters,” Ashley said. 

U.S. stocks dropped sharply on Wall Street. 

Employment data out earlier this week, including the ADP private-payrolls report and initial jobless claims, all painted a less optimistic picture of the recovery in the labor market than expected, which had already fueled fears that Friday’s data would miss expectations. 

In Europe, data showed retail sales for the euro area fell 0.3% in February month-on-month.

Airline stocks drop of bird-flu fears

Airline stocks were among hardest-hit sectors in Europe, on rising fears that the bird-flu virus would impact air travel. The death toll from the H7N9 virus in China rose to four people according to authorities in Shanghai.

Getty Images Enlarge Image
March nonfarm payrolls showed a much weaker-than-expected rise of 88,000.
Shares of Air France-KLM FR:AF -7.77% slumped 7.8%, Deutsche Lufthansa AG DE:LHA -4.84% fell 5.2% and International Consolidated Airlines Group SA UK:IAG -6.90% dropped 6.9%. 

Shares of EasyJet PLC UK:EZJ -6.38% lost 6.4% in London. The budget airline said it now expects a first-half pretax loss between 60 million pounds ($91.4 million) and £65 million, compared with the previous guidance of a £50 million to £75 million loss. 

Among national benchmarks, France’s CAC 40 index FR:PX1 -1.68% dropped 1.7% to 3,663.48, with shares of oil group Total SA FR:FP -1.54% TOT -0.40% down 1.5%, tracking oil prices lower. The index lost 1.8% on the week. 

Shares of PPR SA FR:PP -4.17% lost 4.2%, as its Gucci unit said it has made an “irrevocable” offer of 13 million euros ($16.7 million) to save tableware company Richard Ginori from bankruptcy. 

BNP Paribas SA FR:BNP -1.42% fell 1.4% and Credit Agricole SA FR:ACA -1.56% moved 1.6% lower.
In Germany, the DAX 30 index DX:DAX -2.03% slumped 2.0% to 7,658.75, sending it 1.8% lower on the week. 

The FTSE 100 index UK:UKX -1.49% closed 1.5% lower at 6,249.78, with heavyweight bank HSBC Holdings PLC UK:HSBA -1.80% HBC -0.95% HK:5 -1.93% off 1.8%. The index posted a 2.5% weekly drop. 

Shares of fashion retailer Next PLC UK:NXT -3.58% gave up 3.6% in London, as Credit Suisse cut the firm to neutral from outperform. 

Sara Sjolin is a MarketWatch reporter based in London. Follow her on Twitter @sarasjolin.

ADVFN III Evening Euro Markets Bulletin, 5 April 2013.

ADVFN III Evening Euro Markets Bulletin
Daily world financial news Friday, 05 April 2013

London Market Report
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Markets hammered by fears over US labour market

    Market Movers
    techMARK 2,340.82 -1.75%
    FTSE 100 6,249.78 -1.49%
    FTSE 250 13,480.21 -2.00%
A lacklustre US employment report resulted in a market sell-off across global indices on Friday afternoon as the American economy added much fewer jobs than expected in March.

Market Analyst Craig Erlam from Alpari said that the optimism surrounding the US recovery “has been shattered in the space of a week”.

“A long list of disappointing figures ranging from manufacturing and services PMIs to ADP employment figures and jobless claims left people quite pessimistic leading up to today’s jobs report. But even all of that wasn’t enough to prepare us for a truly woeful non-farm payrolls figure for March," Erlam said.

Meanwhile, reports of a new bird flu virus in China hammered stocks in the travel and leisure sector, providing an extra drag on sentiment early on.
Non-farm payrolls point to subdued labour market
US non-farm payrolls increased by just 88,000 in March, the lowest rise in nine months, according to the Labor Department this afternoon. This was well under the 190,000 consensus estimate.

The jobless rate dropped from 7.7% to 7.6%, but this was the result of the labour force shrinking by nearly half a million people.

While the news increased the likelihood that the Federal Reserve would hold off on scaling back its quantitative easing programme anytime soon, the FTSE 100 reacted with a 1.5% fall on Friday following a weak start on Wall Street.

“Market bulls on both sides of the Pond may be tempted to take risk off the table and enjoy the weekend, given the apparent dependence on positive US data for market strength in the last few weeks,” said Nick Dale-Lace, a Senior Sales Trader at CMC Markets.
Travel stocks drop on avian flu fears
Airline peers easyJet and IAG and travel operators TUI Travel and Thomas Cook were registering sharp falls today as fears were raised that a bird flu outbreak in China would stifle air travel demand. Shares in Chinese airlines declined the most in nearly four years following news six people died of the H7N9 bird flu virus.

Budget airline easyJet was shrugging off an upgrade by Investec from 'hold' to 'buy' after a seemingly in-line trading update this morning.

High Street giant Next was a heavy faller after Credit Suisse downgraded its rating on the stock from 'outperform' to 'neutral', after a 50% jump in the share price in the last year. The broker said that some of the 2013/2014 drivers are "not quite as significant as hoped".

Telecoms firm BT Group was also suffering the effects of a downgrade by Morgan Stanley to 'equal weight'.

Utility stocks Centrica, SSE and National Grid were making gains this afternoon after the US data as traders sought out relatively ‘safer’ assets in the broader market sell-off.

AstraZeneca was flat despite unveiling positive results from a study of fostamatinib, an oral drug being developed for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

Gold miner Centamin surged as gold prices bounced back after their recent falls and a director acquired a further stake in the company.

Precious metals groups Randgold and Fresnillo were also tracking the price of the dollar-denominated yellow metal higher, as the disappointing US jobs figures increased hopes that the Fed would stick to its stimulus programme. This would in turn make the greenback weaker and gold more attractive.

AIM/Small Cap Report
FTSE 100 - Risers
Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. (ENRC) 243.10p +3.36%
Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS) 5,290.00p +2.52%
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,309.00p +1.71%
BAE Systems (BA.) 386.30p +0.89%
Carnival (CCL) 2,217.00p +0.73%
Centrica (CNA) 374.10p +0.70%
Aviva (AV.) 295.70p +0.51%
National Grid (NG.) 781.00p +0.45%
RSA Insurance Group (RSA) 109.60p +0.27%
SSE (SSE) 1,509.00p +0.07%

FTSE 100 - Fallers
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 234.90p -6.90%
easyJet (EZJ) 1,027.00p -6.38%
TUI Travel (TT.) 298.60p -4.66%
Amec (AMEC) 1,052.00p -4.19%
Aberdeen Asset Management (ADN) 397.10p -3.76%
Wolseley (WOS) 3,040.00p -3.71%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 1,913.00p -3.63%
Next (NXT) 4,170.00p -3.58%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 1,384.00p -3.35%
Standard Life (SL.) 326.10p -3.23%

FTSE 250 - Risers
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 45.95p +9.54%
NMC Health (NMC) 327.70p +6.12%
African Barrick Gold (ABG) 190.20p +3.71%
Daejan Holdings (DJAN) 3,532.00p +3.27%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 143.00p +2.51%
Kenmare Resources (KMR) 27.30p +2.25%
Barr (A.G.) (BAG) 547.00p +2.24%
New World Resources A Shares (NWR) 216.00p +1.41%
Fidessa Group (FDSA) 1,870.00p +1.35%
Dialight (DIA) 1,276.00p +1.27%

FTSE 250 - Fallers
Thomas Cook Group (TCG) 105.80p -6.95%
Ladbrokes (LAD) 207.50p -6.95%
Petra Diamonds Ltd.(DI) (PDL) 113.00p -6.92%
International Personal Finance (IPF) 422.00p -6.22%
Genus (GNS) 1,421.00p -6.14%
Bodycote (BOY) 504.00p -5.97%
Homeserve (HSV) 185.60p -5.83%
Pace (PIC) 230.70p -5.72%
National Express Group (NEX) 192.10p -5.65%
Tullett Prebon (TLPR) 251.60p -5.34%

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Stocks mixed on economic data and outlook
FTSE-100: -1.51%
Dax-30: -2.09%
Cac-40: -1.72%%
FTSE-Mibtel 30: 0.68%
Ibex 35: -0.80%
Stoxx 600: -1.64%

European equities finished the week mixed as US jobs data missed forecasts, Eurozone retail sales slipped and a central bank member raised concern on inflation.

The Eurozone’s retail sales dropped 0.3% in February following a 0.9% rise in January, according to Eurostat on Friday. However, European Union (EU) sales remained stable after a 0.8% increase in January.

Year-on-year, retail sales in the 17-nation bloc fell 1.4% compared to the expected decline of 1.8%. Retail sales in the EU, which includes 27 member states, decreased 0.2% on February 2012.

The drop in Eurozone sales was led by the area’s second largest economy France, which fell 2.2% compared to the previous month. Portuguese retail sales improved for a second month in a row, rising by 1.3% after 3.6% in January, while growing more moderately by 0.6% in Spain. Germany and Austria were the only other European countries to post positive growth of 0.4% and 0.1%, respectively.

It comes as European policy makers face mounting pressure to revive the recession-hit region. European Central Bank (ECB) member Benoît Coeuré warned that growth was slowing in the euro area. He expressed the need to keep a close watch on inflation which he said would move away from the monetary authority’s 2.0% target of the next 18 months.

His remarks were on similar lines to ECB President Mario Draghi's speech Thursday when he said that the central bank should monitor data over the next few weeks.

Bad loans to impact Italy’s banks

Fitch warned Friday that bad loan charges were likely to increase for Italy’s banks due to the weak economy.

The analysts said Italian banks' loan impairment charges were "likely to continue through 2013" due precisely to the country’s financial troubles.

"Our outlook for the sector remains negative as the banks face another challenging year dominated by economic uncertainty," it said.

Spain’s banking outlook negative

Moody’s Investor’s Service reported a negative outlook for Spain’s banking system as the country continues to tackle its debts.

The credit ratings agency said the projection isn't likely to change any time soon as Spanish financial institutions "continue to operate in a recessionary economy, burdened by high levels on non-performing assets that are expected to significantly deteriorate further across all asset classes, with continued pressure on profitability and capital".

US payroll figure misses forecasts

The US added 88,000 new jobs last month, down from 268,000 in February, the Labor Department revealed Friday.

It was the biggest fall in nine months and missed forecasts of 190,000.

Government agencies and factories were most affected while professional and business services and health care industries increased their payrolls.

Airlines stocks tumble

A gauge of airline stocks fell including International Airlines Group, Air France, easyJet and Deutsche Lufthansa following news that six people died of bird flu in China which raised fears than an outbreak would stifle air travel demand.

Ladbrokes dropped as Deutschbank downgraded the UK gambling operator from ‘hold’ to ‘buy’.

Centamin shares surged Friday as gold prices improved and an a director acquired a further stake in the Egypt-focused miner.

Punch Taverns rose as the UK pub operator said it was on track to meet its full-year earnings expectations.

Heritage Oil shares fell as The Telegraph's Questor column reiterated its ‘hold’ rating on the stock after the company lost a tax dispute with Uganda.

Other asset classes mixed

The euro/dollar climbed 0.70%, to the 1.3026 dollar level.

Front month Brent crude futures, on the other hand, fell by $1.557 dollars to $104.710 on the ICE.

US Market Report
Stocks down after employment report
Dow Jones Industrials: -0.96%
Nasdaq Comp.: -1,46%
S&P 500: -1,14%

The main US equity benchmarks are now being called to drop by well over a full percentage point following the release of a March employment report which may give the Federal Reserve Board some ‘food for thought.’

US non-farm payrolls rose by just 88,000 persons in March, according to data out this morning from the Labour Department, well below the 190,000 estimated by the consensus.

The previous month's reading was revised higher to show an increase of 268,000 (from a preliminary estimate of 236,000). Nevertheless, at first glance the figures seem undeniably weaker than expected.

Average hourly earnings were flat versus last month, instead of rising by 0.2 per cent as had been foreseen.

What is being bandied about by some commentators is that the recent new sources of uncertainty, such as Cyprus or ‘sequestration,’ may have dissuaded some companies from taking on more workers.

On the company front, network-equipment company F5 Networks yesterday lowered its estimates for its fiscal second-quarter results. That has sent its shares into a tailspin and is also weighing on those of rivals such as Juniper Networks and Cisco Systems.

The US trade deficit dropped to -$43bn in February (Consensus: -$44.6bn) from -$44.5bn last month. 10 year US Treasury yields are now down by 7 basis points, at 1.70%.  Front month West Texas crude futures are now down by 0.51% to 92.64 dollars on the NYMEX.

S&P 500 - Risers
Newmont Mining Corp. (NEM) $40.00 +2.25%
Southwestern Energy Co. (SWN) $36.08 +0.50%
Edison International (EIX) $50.12 +0.22%
Duke Energy Corp. (DUK) $71.92 +0.18%
PPL Corp. (PPL) $31.33 +0.13%
TECO Energy Inc. (TE) $18.07 +0.11%
Entergy Corp. (ETR) $66.57 +0.08%
NASDAQ OMX Group Inc. (NDAQ) $28.58 +0.04%
H. J. Heinz Co. (HNZ) $72.29 +0.01%
C.R. Bard Inc. (BCR) $101.27 +0.00%

S&P 500 - Fallers
F5 Networks Inc. (FFIV) $72.05 -20.32%
Juniper Networks Inc. (JNPR) $16.85 -7.00%
JDS Uniphase Corp. (JDSU) $12.41 -5.34%
Citrix Systems Inc. (CTXS) $66.89 -4.07%
Lincoln National Corp. (LNC) $30.28 -3.96%
Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) $20.21 -3.94%
MetLife Inc. (MET) $36.08 -3.50%
Wynn Resorts Ltd. (WYNN) $114.66 -3.48%
Prudential Fincl Inc. (PRU) $54.99 -3.46%
Marathon Petroleum Corporation (MPC) $79.80 -3.41%

Dow Jones I.A - Risers

Dow Jones I.A - Fallers
Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) $20.21 -3.94%
Bank of America Corp. (BAC) $11.73 -1.78%
American Express Co. (AXP) $65.55 -1.77%
Walt Disney Co. (DIS) $56.58 -1.75%
Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) $21.92 -1.70%
Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) $83.25 -1.63%
Intel Corp. (INTC) $20.79 -1.63%
International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) $208.60 -1.28%
Chevron Corp. (CVX) $116.56 -1.28%
E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. (DD) $48.45 -1.20%

Nasdaq 100 - Risers
Randgold Resources Ltd. Ads (GOLD) $81.55 +1.53%

Nasdaq 100 - Fallers
F5 Networks Inc. (FFIV) $72.05 -20.32%
Citrix Systems Inc. (CTXS) $66.89 -4.07%
Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO) $20.21 -3.94%
Wynn Resorts Ltd. (WYNN) $114.66 -3.48%
Avago Technologies Ltd. (AVGO) $33.54 -3.06%
Fossil Inc. (FOSL) $90.04 -2.98%
Nuance Communications Inc. (NUAN) $20.20 -2.93%
Altera Corp. (ALTR) $32.81 -2.93%
Autodesk Inc. (ADSK) $37.42 -2.75%
Mattel Inc. (MAT) $42.13 -2.66%

Broker tips
Banks, Asset managers, Next
Investec has turned more bullish on global banking giant HSBC, upgrading the stock from 'add' to 'buy', but has retained a clear preference for sector peer Standard Chartered (also rated 'buy').

Analyst Ian Gordon said in a research note on Friday that both HSBC and StanChart are expected to deliver further outperformance against UK domestic lenders Lloyds and RBS (both rated 'hold').

"[…] but in the case of HSBC, a continuing inability to deploy its emerging capital surplus will, we believe, lead inevitably to suboptimal (below target) returns. Most investors do candidly acknowledge this reality already, which rather begs the question…..why own HSBC at all?"

Jefferies has downgraded its ratings for three asset managers, Schroders, Henderson and Jupiter, in a review of the sector following the strong equity markets and re-ratings seen so far this year.

Jefferies said: "For the share rally to be sustainable therefore we need to see further upgrades during the course of the year, and those will come either from higher markets, accelerating inflows or both. With financial uncertainty continuing to loom over the European landscape we feel this is less likely than a pause or retrenchment and so are easing back on our ratings."

After a 50% share-price jump over the past 12 months, Next has seen its rating downgraded by Credit Suisse from 'outperform' to 'neutral', causing the stock to fall on Friday morning.

Credit Suisse said that some of the drivers of the financial year (ending January 2014) have not been quite as significant as expected. As such, it believes that there is little chance of upgrades to full-year numbers until the second half following a slow January and expected slow first quarter.