Bad news about the nation’s unemployment rate sent investors to commodities, which pushed agriculture and metal exchange traded funds (ETFs) higher in the early minutes of trading.

According to the ETF Dashboard, the top-moving funds this morning are agriculture-focused, led by PowerShares DB Agriculture (NYSEArca: DBA) and PowerShares Global Agriculture Portfolio (NYSEArca: PAGG), both of which are up more than 2.5%.

While unemployment held steady at a dismal 9.6% in September, nonfarm payrolls unexpectedly fell by 95,000 as more temporary census workers were let go and state and local governments slashed staffs. The jobless rate has now been above 9% since May 2008, the longest stretch in 25 years, says The Wall Street Journal.

The effects of the discouraging news was felt across a number of asset classes:

  • Two- and five-year Treasury yields sank to record lows once again as prices were sent higher on safe-haven seeking by investors. The unemployment report is seen as a sign that the Federal Reserve will almost certainly step in with stimulus measures. iShares Barclays 1-3 Year Treasury (NYSEArca: SHY) is flat so far this morning; the yield is 0.93%.
  • Treasury Bond ETFs

  • The U.S. dollar was also being sold off in anticipation of further Fed moves, which may result in yet more money being injected into the system. PowerShares DB U.S. Dollar Bullish (NYSEArca: UUP) is down about 0.2% so far this morning; in the last three months, it has lost 8.6%.
  • Currency ETFs, US Dollar

  • Gold futures surged following the news, as well. The metal was below the record of $1,366 that it set earlier this week. SPDR Gold Shares (NYSEArca: GLD) is up 0.5% so far this morning; in the last three months, it’s gained 9.7%.
  • Gold ETFs

For full disclosure, Tom Lydon’s clients own shares of SHY.

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