NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. government bond prices jumped and the dollar dipped on Friday following news that U.S. employers added the fewest jobs in a month since December 2013. The stock market was closed in observance of Good Friday.
Traders saw the weaker-than-expected job gains in March as a sign that the Federal Reserve might delay raising interest rates. The rise in bond prices sent the yield on the 10-year Treasury down to its lowest level in two months. Futures contracts on the stock market also fell.
In a holiday-shortened trading session, the U.S. bond market wrapped up at noon Eastern time. Major European stock markets were closed, while Asian market finished mostly higher.
KEEPING SCORE: The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.84 percent. That was down from 1.91 percent late Thursday. Standard & Poor's 500 index futures fell 20 points, or 1 percent. The dollar fell nearly 1 percent against the euro.
In Asia, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 gained 0.6 percent. Seoul's Kospi rose 0.8 percent, while the Shanghai Composite added 1 percent. Markets were closed for holidays in Germany, France, Britain, Hong Kong, India, Australia and in several Southeast Asian countries.
U.S. JOBS: U.S. employers added the fewest workers to their payrolls since December 2013 — just 126,000 — in March. That ended 12 straight months of gains above 200,000. Even so, the unemployment rate remained at 5.5 percent, according to the Labor Department.
Economic growth has been hampered this year by harsh winter weather, slowdowns at factories and lackluster construction activity.
The government also cut its previous estimates of job gains in February and January by a combined 69,000.
RESPONSE: In a research note, Bank of America's economists said the news didn't change their expectation that the Fed will look to make its first interest-rate increase in September. But that's only if economic data starts looking much better in the months ahead.
"Although we continue to look for momentum in the economy to improve through the year," they said, "we cannot dismiss the weak signal that the data are sending,"