Last Friday presented a rare occurrence for the market. Even though the market was closed in observance of Good Friday, the March employment report was released anyway. The employment numbers were very disappointing.
Analysts were expecting job growth of 200,000 for the month, but instead the job growth was only 120,000. This was not only the lowest job growth since last October, it was also half of the job growth in February.
With an entire weekend to stew over these numbers, investors took to selling on Monday. The Dow lost 130 points while the S&P lost 15.88 points (1.14 percent). These losses come on the heels of last week’s losses which were the worst weekly losses so far this year.
Even with the losses last week, the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) hardly moved at all. It closed the week at 16.70 which is indicative of investor complacency. Often referred to as the “fear index” or the “fear gauge,” it represents one measure of the market's expectation of stock market volatility over the next 30 day period.
Monday’s selling pressure had more of an impact as the VIX jumped to 18.81 which is the highest reading in the last month.
During the past few years, when the VIX has hit the 15 level, it has been a good sign that a pullback was coming once the indicator bounced off of the lows.
The VIX will face some resistance in the 22 range, but if it moves above this resistance, it could be a sign of a more prolonged market setback.
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