What's moving markets today: March 8, 2019

4:28 p.m. ET, March 8, 2019

US stocks stage late day rally but still slide for fifth straight day 

Stocks staged a late day rally on Friday but still fell for the fifth straight day after a weak US jobs report and a sharp drop in China’s exports.

The Dow fell 23 points, or 0.1%. The Nasdaq and S&P 500 each fell 0.2%.

The US economy added only 20,000 jobs in February, a surprisingly low number that bucked the trend of sizable jobs gains in recent months. China's huge export industry plunged 21% in February -- its worst month in three years -- hurt by the trade war with the United States and a slowing global economy.

Energy stocks helped lead the way lower. Noble Energy (NBL), Devon Energy (DVN) and EOG Resources (EOG) declined 5% apiece. Norway's huge sovereign wealth fund announced Friday it was dumping oil and gas stocks.

National Beverage Corp. (FIZZ) shares were down 15% after its popular LaCroix brand sparkling water posted disappointing results. 

1:15 p.m. ET, March 8, 2019

US markets retreat (again) on gloomy data, oil plunge

Wall Street appears headed toward a rare five-day losing streak.

  • The Dow was down 155, or 0.6%, points in early afternoon trading
  • The S&P 500 declined 0.8%
  • And the Nasdaq lost 0.7%

All three major indexes are down for the fifth day in a row. That hasn't happened for the Nasdaq since April.

The good news is that the Dow is trading off its worst levels. It opened with a loss of about 220 points in response to the poor US jobs report and plunge in China's exports.

Energy stocks (XLE) led the way lower as US oil prices dropped nearly 3% to $55.15 a barrel. Noble Energy (NBL), Devon Energy (DVN) and EOG Resources (EOG) declined by more than 4% apiece.

"We're seeing crude get swept up in this risk-off appetite in the broader market," said Matt Smith, head of commodities research at ClipperData.

11:49 a.m. ET, March 8, 2019

Big Lots is having a big day

Shares of Big Lots (BIG) are making a big jump higher following a strong earnings report: The stock is up 16%:

  • The discount chain's revenue and sales came in above analysts' expectations.
  • Big Lot's stock is up 26% for the year, with much of those gains coming from today.
10:38 a.m. ET, March 8, 2019

Get ready to see more of these low jobs numbers

CNN's Alison Kosik said today's paltry jobs report is about to become the norm because of the nation's tight labor market.

She said last year's jobs numbers aren't "sustainable" because of the low 3.8% unemployment rate. "We are seeing the labor market getting close to full employment, so it's getting hard to keep adding jobs," Kosik said.

9:51 a.m. ET, March 8, 2019

Dow drops 160 points after weird jobs report

US markets opened lower once again on Friday.

  • The Dow fell 160 points, or 0.6%.
  • The S&P 500 dropped 0.8%.
  • The Nasdaq declined 0.9%.

The US economy added only 20,000 jobs in February, bucking the trend of huge jobs gains in recent months. Paychecks posted the strongest year-over-year percentage gain since 2009, at 3.4%.

The bad start for US stocks also followed poor performances in European and Asian markets. Chinese stocks fell sharply after government data showed the country’s huge export industry suffered its worst month in three years.

11:12 a.m. ET, March 8, 2019

Look how few jobs were added in February

Roughly 20,000 jobs were added last month, a drastic decrease from month's prior:

9:25 a.m. ET, March 8, 2019

What analysts are saying about today's weird jobs numbers

The US economy added only 20,000 jobs in February — a surprisingly low number that bucked the trend of huge jobs gains in recent months. Wages posted the strongest year-over-year percentage gain since 2009, at 3.4%, according to our Lydia DePillis.

Here's what analysts are saying.

Steve Rick, chief economist at CUNA Mutual Group:

Today’s lower-than-expected job numbers may appear particularly disappointing ... however, sustaining over 200,000 jobs each month for three consecutive months while maintaining such a low unemployment rate is an increasingly unreasonable expectation for the economy."

Gus Faucher, chief economist at PNC Financial Services Group:

After two very good months in December and January, we were due for a weaker number. I do expect to see job gains bounce back next month, but not at the pace of 2018."

Lindsey Piegza, chief economist at Stifel Investments:

The reason for the wild monthly volatility is anyone’s guess. A lot of fingers are being pointed to the government shutdown. We don’t know exactly why we’re seeing this crazy swing. But it reinforces why you can’t focus on one data point alone."

Mike Fratantoni, SVP and chief economist at Mortgage Bankers Association:

The decline in the unemployment rate and the further increase in wage growth shows a job market that is still quite strong, even if we may be near the top of the current economic cycle."

Heidi Shierholz, former chief economist for the US Bureau of Labor Statistics: