Stocks barely moved at the open in the wake of a gruesome but unsurprising jobs report. The Dow fluctuated between gains and losses, recently trading down 27 points, with the Nasdaq and S&P registering 0.6% and 0.5% declines. The country lost 2.6 million jobs in 2008, the Labor Department announced, with nearly 2 million of those coming in the last four months alone. The jobless rate is now 7.2%.
The report “helps everyone breathe a sigh of relief,” said one market strategist. “The market had priced in the worst-case scenario and with 524,000, it’s a lot better than some of us expected.”