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American Express Company (AXP), Bank of America Corp (BAC): Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) Plummets on More Weak Labor Market News

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) is planted firmly in the red this morning following the third data release to signal a weakening labor market this week. Down 122 points as of 11 a.m. EDT, the index has a steep climb back to breakeven, with little help on the way from additional economic data releases.

And it was going so well…
Jobs data has been a big thorn in the market’s side all week. Following two other disappointing data points, this morning’s employment situation report was no different. Though analysts had expected an addition of 200,000 jobs in March, the month only delivered a paltry 88,000. And though the overall unemployment rate fell 10 basis points to 7.6%, it was mostly due to people dropping out of the labor market, according to the Labor Department — not a good sign.

The new trend of a weakening labor market may induce broader effects on the economy, as GDP may be revised to show lower consumer spending. It will also take its toll on the financial sector, which is following the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) south this morning.

American Express Company (NYSE:AXP)

Financials fall again
American Express Company
(NYSE:AXP) is one of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI)‘s biggest losers this morning, down 2.65% so far in trading. The personal finance company was at a 52-week high just a little over a week ago following the news of FDIC insurance being added to its prepaid cards, as well as a 150-million-share buyback program. But continued concerns over the labor market may have hit the premium credit card company, which relies on consumer spending to generate revenues through interest. Another blow may have come in the form of a downgrade to “hold” by Jefferies Group analysts yesterday. Though other firms have reiterated buys and higher price targets, the company’s average rating remains a hold.

Travelers Companies Inc (NYSE:TRV) is down 0.87% so far this morning, making it the second-biggest financial loser for the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI). Despite being a hedge fund and analyst favorite, the insurer is down — though unlikely to stay there. Though insurance firms have to rely on consumer spending as well, their products are more necessary than items purchased on a credit card, for instance. Several firms have reiterated “buy”s for the company in the past week, with a price target of $88. The stock traded this morning at $83.61.
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