Stocks hold steady after feds reveal coronavirus job losses

US stocks held steady Friday even after a brutal monthly jobs report gave Wall Street more proof of how hard the coronavirus pandemic has hit the economy. The Dow Jones industrial average was off just 58.23 points, or 0.2 percent, as of 10:05 a.m. after an opening 0.7 tumble on the heels of the feds’ …

US stocks held steady Friday even after a brutal monthly jobs report gave Wall Street more proof of how hard the coronavirus pandemic has hit the economy.

The Dow Jones industrial average was off just 58.23 points, or 0.2 percent, as of 10:05 a.m. after an opening 0.7 tumble on the heels of the feds’ March jobs report that said the US economy lost 701,000 jobs last month. The number shattered expectations and brought the nation’s nine-year hiring streak to an abrupt end.

The S&P 500 was recently trading roughly flat on the heels of the report, which doesn’t account for the massive virus-related job losses seen at the end of the month. The Nasdaq Composite recovered from an early drop and rose 0.2 percent into the green.

“The optimistic read here is that the market is already toggled for horrendous economic numbers,” Stephen Innes, chief global market strategist at AxiTrader, wrote in a commentary. “In other words, a bleak picture is already in the price.”

The modest drops in stocks came as oil prices continued to surge on hopes of an end to the price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia. Those hopes spurred a Thursday rally on Wall Street as investors shrugged off another record spike in unemployment claims stemming from the virus crisis.

West Texas Intermediate crude futures were up 8.4 percent at $27.45 a barrel as of 9:26 a.m., building on Thursday’s gains following President Trump’s tweet that the two countries would agree to cut production by as much as 15 million barrels.

“The move higher in oil helps in that it could help keep more of the shale producers functioning as opposed to being on the verge of default,” said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial.

All three major US stock indexes were on pace to end the week in the red as of Thursday. The Dow was off 223.34 points, or 1 percent, for the week through Thursday’s closing bell, while the S&P was down 0.5 percent and the Nasdaq posted a 0.2 percent drop.

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