September’s nonfarm payroll report was lower than anticipated, pulling U.S. stocks down in early trading. Employment increased by 142,000, far below the estimated 200,000. August was dramatically revised down to 136,000 from 173,000. The overall unemployment rate remained unchanged last month at 5.1 percent.
As a result, the S&P 500 slid 28 points to 1,895, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped by 240 points to 16,031 and the Nasdaq fell by 63 points to 4,563.
Apparel jobs slid 0.8 percent and were down year-over-year. Clothing retailers also cut back on jobs, with employment falling 1.8 percent. Overall retail trade trended up by 24,000 jobs, with those gains coming from auto dealers and general merchandise stores.
It was a busy afternoon for retail companies after the market closed on Thursday. Several took the opportunity to release news about their companies.
Nordstrom’s stock fell in regular trading following the company’s announcement after Thursday’s close that it had completed the sale of its credit card business to TD Bank. The stock jumped 5 percent in after hours trading, but this morning dropped down by 12 cents in regular trading to $71.35. The retailer will use the proceeds to pay a special cash dividend and buy back shares.
Bebe is officially in reorganization mode. Investors cheered the move, pushing the stock up by 2 percent to $1 this morning after the retailer revealed following market close on Thursday that it was cutting 50 jobs. Rather than spend money on employees, Bebe is planning to use $5 million to buy back stock. Bebe said it had seen encouraging trends in the business and that September comparable-store sales had turned positive.
Quiksilver’s former executives are complaining that the bankrupt company isn’t fulfilling its severance agreements. Nicholas Drake, the former chief marketing officer, filed an objection on Wednesday in Delaware’s bankruptcy court claiming the company wasn’t making the payments it had promised to him. Drake signed a severance agreement that promised him 18 monthly checks of $41,666.67 each. According to the court filing, Quiksilver made one payment in August and then stopped.
Elsewhere, economic data was limited out of Europe. Germany’s market continues to struggle as the Volkswagen scandal has affected all the stocks of German automakers, with the overall market declining 0.2 percent Friday. The U.K. FTSE is up slightly, while France is roughly flat.