U.S. joblessness sank to five-month lows, to the surprise of economists, but the markets couldn’t rally enough to keep the Dow Jones Industrial Average above the 10,000 mark. Most exchange traded funds (ETFs) are lower, but those focused on natural gas and regional banks are faring better.
The U.S. economy lost 20,000 jobs in January – quite a turnaround from the 150,000 lost in December. The figures put the unemployment rate at 9.7%, a five-month low. Economists had been expecting the number to rise, says Lucia Mutikani for Reuters. The numbers aren’t all good, though. More than 1 million Americans became so discouraged with their job search last month that they stopped looking altogether.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank below the key mark of 10,000 points before steadying slightly. Despite the job market improvement, concerns over European sovereign debt could continue to pressure the index. Diamonds Trust (NYSEArca: DIA) is flat so far today. [How to Play the Dow With ETFs.]
Toyota (NYSE: TM) President Akio Toyoda apologized for quality problems in their cars at a news conference this morning, report Hiroko Tabuchi and Nick Bunkley for The New York Times. He apologized to shareholders, too, since Toyota’s shares have plummeted 20% in the last two weeks. The SPDR S&P International Consumer Discretionary Fund (NYSEArca: IPD) is down more than 2% this morning; Toyota is 7.5%.
The dollar continues to rally against the euro as sovereign debt worries sent investors to other currencies, says Fabio Alves for The Wall Street Journal. The euro is now trading around $1.37. PowerShares DB U.S. Dollar Bullish (NYSEArca: UUP) is up about 0.5% this morning. [Our Guide to Currency ETFs.]
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