Markets closed down today:
▼ Dow: -1.27 percent
▼ Nasdaq: -2.25 percent
▼ S&P: -1.61 percent
▲ Gold: up +0.32 percent to $1,642.05 an ounce
▲ Silver: up +0.42 percent to settle at $30.35 an ounce
▼ Oil: -3.97 percent
Markets were down today because:
Stocks plunged Friday after the government reported that hiring slowed sharply last month. The report confirmed investors' fears that the U.S. economic recovery “is faltering,” the AP reports.
The losses in the market were widespread. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 168 points and the Nasdaq composite had its worst day since Nov. 9. Both the Nasdaq and the Standard & Poor's 500 index closed out their worst weeks of the year. The Dow had its second-worst.
Simply put, the markets wholeheartedly disagree with President Obama that Friday's data was "good news."
The dollar and U.S. Treasury prices rose as investors dumped risky assets and moved money into lower-risk investments. Energy stocks were among the hardest hit after the price of oil fell sharply and settled below $100 a barrel for the first time since February. Only one of the 10 industry groups in the S&P 500 rose, utilities, which investors tend to buy when they're nervous about the economy.
It was the third straight daily loss for the Dow. However, the Dow is still up 6.7 percent this year, the S&P 500 8.9 percent.
Investors are on edge about Europe once again as France and Greece both hold elections over the weekend. In France the socialist candidate Francois Hollande has a chance to unseat the incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy, who has been at the forefront of fashioning Europe's efforts to prevent its share currency from collapsing.
Crude oil plunged $4 to $98.49 a barrel on worries that demand would drop because of a weakening world economy. It was the first time oil has dropped below $100 since February 13.
The Dow closed down 168.32 points, or 1.3 percent, at 13,038. All 30 companies that make up the index fell, led by Bank of America and Cisco.
The S&P 500 slipped 22.47 points, or 1.6 percent, to 1,369, while the Nasdaq index fell 67.96 points, or 2.2 percent, to 2,956.
For the week, the Dow fell 190 points, S&P fell 34, while Nasdaq declined 113 points.
The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note dropped sharply to 1.88 percent from 1.92 percent late Thursday as demand increased for safe investments. The yield hasn't settled that low since early February.
The culprit for the distress in financial markets was a report from the Labor Department Friday showing that U.S. job growth slumped in April for a second straight month. The 115,000 jobs added were fewer than the 154,000 jobs created in March.
Job creation is the fuel for the nation's economic growth. When more people have jobs, they have more money to spend.
After the price of oil fell, energy company stocks turned lower in response. Southwestern Energy Co. fell 7 percent and Marathon Oil Corp. fell 3 percent.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.