Stocks remained under pressure in early afternoon trading Friday, as a disappointing jobs report continued to weigh.
The Nasdaq extended its loss to 0.5%, while the S&P 500 fell 0.3% and the Dow Jones industrial average gave up 0.1%. Volume was tracking very close to Thursday’s levels on both the NYSE and the Nasdaq. Winners and losers were about even on the NYSE; losers led by a 3-2 ratio on the Nasdaq.
U.S. employers added 160,000 workers in April, well below estimates for 200,000, lowering the chance of a Fed rate hike at its June 15 meeting. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 5%, in line with views.
Software, drugmakers and airline stocks were among the biggest losers in today’s stock market action. Energy, gold miners and steel stocks outperformed. West Texas intermediate oil rose 2% to above $45 a barrel. Gold also climbed 2%, to $1,296.20.
The gaming software group bucked the downtrend, thanks to Activision Blizzard (ATVI), which gapped up and surged 6% in furious trade to its best level in nearly four months. Shares are in buy range from a 35.70 cup-with-handle buy point. Mizuho and Pacific Crest Securities raised their price targets on the stock. Activision on Thursday reported Q1 results that smashed views, helped by its King Digital acquisition and strong demand for its “Call of Duty: Black Ops III” game.
Among recent IPOs, Square (SQ) gapped down and sank 20% in heavy volume after reporting mixed Q1 results late Thursday. Shares are 34% off their high and 16% above their Nov. 19 offering price. Wedbush downgraded the mobile payment provider to underperform from neutral. Square’s post-IPO lockup period expires May 16.
Yelp (YELP) gapped up and soared 20% in robust trade, retaking its 200-day moving average for the first time since September 2014. The stock has been in a steep decline since then. It’s now 49% below its 52-week high. Late Thursday, the online review site reported Q1 results that beat views, and raised its Q2 and full-year revenue guidance.