Sun, Jan 12, 2020 - Page 14 News List

Wall St slips from records on jobs data

UNDERWHELMING:The US jobs report showed the unemployment rate held near a 50-year low of 3.5 percent, while jobs increased by 145,000 — lower than expected

Reuters, NEW YORK

US stocks on Friday retreated from record-high levels as investors took profit and data showed slower-than-expected US jobs growth last month, but the major indices posted gains for the week.

Domestic jobs increased by 145,000 last month, below the forecast for a 164,000 rise, the US government data showed, as the pace of hiring remained more than enough to keep the longest economic expansion in history on track.

The report also showed that the jobless rate held near a 50-year low of 3.5 percent and average hourly earnings rose 0.1 percent in the previous month.

“You’ve had an extremely strong start to the year, led by a number of technology stalwarts, and an underwhelming jobs report,” said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities Inc in Los Angeles.

That has given investors reason to take some profit, but next week the focus would turn to earnings, he said.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 133.13 points, or 0.46 percent, to 28,823.77, the S&P 500 lost 9.35 points, or 0.29 percent, to 3,265.35 and the NASDAQ Composite dropped 24.57 points, or 0.27 percent, to 9,178.86.

For the week, the S&P 500 rose 0.9 percent and the Dow added 0.7 percent. The NASDAQ climbed 1.8 percent in its fifth consecutive week of gains.

The gains followed easing tensions between the US and Iran and firmer hopes of a US-China trade deal.

The S&P 500 technology index, which gained 2.2 percent for the week, was down 0.2 percent on Friday.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told Fox Business that the trade deal is on track to be signed on Wednesday.

Boeing Co fell 1.9 percent after the company released hundreds of internal messages that contained harshly critical comments on 737 MAX aircraft development.

With the fourth-quarter earnings season set to begin in earnest next week, analysts expect profits for S&P 500 companies to have declined 0.6 percent in their second consecutive quarterly decline, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the New York Stock Exchange by a 1.09-to-1 ratio; on NASDAQ, a 1.31-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 61 new 52-week highs and one new low; the NASDAQ Composite recorded 106 new highs and 27 new lows.

Volume on US exchanges was 6.77 billion shares, compared with the 7 billion average for the full session over the past 20 trading days.

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