US markets fell on Friday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 1%, the S&P 500 Index closing 0.9% lower and the Nasdaq Composite Index falling 1.3%, after the US Labor department said non-farm payrolls grew by only 80,000. Economists had been expecting the number to be 100,000.
The weak numbers appear to be yet another sign that the US is stalling, with the Wall Street Journal suggesting the US is one-step closer to a third round of quantitative easing.
European markets also fell with the UK’s FTSE 100 index down 0.5%, the German DAX and Paris’ CAC 40 both dropping 1.9%.
The Australian dollar has fallen more than 1 cent against the US dollar, trading around 101.9 cents.
In commodities news, gold was down 1.6%, trading around $1579 an ounce, while US crude oil fell 3%, after the International Monetary Fund warned that it would cut its global growth forecast.
Early falls likely
The ASX SPI futures was down 14 points, suggesting the S&P / ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) could show an early fall.
Stocks with a large percentage of US sales such as building materials companies, James Hardie Industries (ASX: JHX) and Boral Limited (ASX: BLD), pharmaceuticals company CSL Limited (ASX: CSL) and hearing device maker, Cochlear Limited (ASX: COH) could see their share prices come under pressure thanks to the weak US data released on Friday.
Woolworths Limited (ASX: WOW) could be in the news after the Federal court ruled that an extraordinary general meeting, called by 200 shareholders will take place the same day as the company’s annual general meeting (AGM) in November 2012. Consumer activist group Getup! is pushing for Woolworths’ poker machines to have a $1 bet limit set in place. Shareholders will now get to vote on the resolution at the AGM.
This week marks the start of the US quarterly reporting season, with company results potentially over-shadowing economic news and driving Wall Street (and hence our markets) for the next few weeks.
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Motley Fool writer/analyst Mike King owns shares in CSL, Cochlear and Woolworths. The Motley Fool‘s purpose is to help the world invest, better. Take Stock is The Motley Fool’s free investing newsletter. Packed with stock ideas and investing advice, it is essential reading for anyone looking to build and grow their wealth in the years ahead. Click here now to request your free subscription, whilst it’s still available. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.
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