Nonfarm payrolls decreased by 701,000 in March, wider than the consensus on Econoday for a slide of 150,000. The unemployment rate spiked to 4.4% from 3.5% in February as job losses mounted in the face of the spread of the respiratory disease that's infected more than a million people around the world.
Markets got some help recouping losses from another strong day of gains for the oil sector, with prices for West Texas Intermediate jumping 8.5% to $27.47 a barrel and Brent up by 13% to $33.79 a barrel amid growing hopes for output cuts by top producers. Apache (APA) gained 7.5% and Occidental Petroleum (OXY) was up 6.6%.
Materials added 0.6% to be among the gainers on the S&P 500, while utilities shed 1.1% in the biggest decline and financials dipped 0.6%. On the Dow Jones Industrial Average, UnitedHealth Group (UNH) fell 2.2% while Boeing (BA) added 2.8% as the benchmark's components about evenly split between gainers and decliners.
In company news, Tesla (TSLA) jumped 9.7% after reporting first-quarter deliveries and production numbers that the electric-car maker said were a record for the period. Etsy (ETSY) climbed 7.9% after Chief Executive Josh Silverman said the company's gross merchandise value rose about 32% year over year, even amid the pandemic.
Casey's General Stores (CASY) fell 5.5% as the convenience-store operator withdrew its fiscal 2020 guidance late Thursday due to COVID-19, but said it has ample liquidity to weather the crisis. CarMax (KMX) was 2% lower after analysts including Wedbush and Credit Suisse cut price targets on the company.
In morning trading, the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 were both up about 0.2% while the Dow was down 0.1%.
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