Stocks fell on Monday but pulled off their lows by mid-session, suggesting that the market is brushing off the weaker-than-expected jobs data that pushed major indexes down more than 1 percent earlier. The S&P 500 slid to its lowest point in more than three weeks, but recovered some of that lost ground in afternoon trade and held well above its 50-day moving average near 1,371. U.S. non-farm payrolls added 120,000 jobs in March, far below the forecast gain of 203,000 jobs.
The payrolls report cast doubts on the United States’ ability to help bolster the global economy as Europe’s debt crisis resurfaces and worries remain whether China’s economy will avoid a hard landing. But at the same time, it renewed hopes for more monetary stimulus from the Federal Reserve. China’s surprisingly soft producer prices data sparked concerns about waning demand in the world’s second-largest economy. The country’s March PPI data reinforced expectations that a cooling economy has eclipsed inflation as the Chinese government’s biggest near-term worry.