Markets closed mostly lower on Friday as the nonfarm payrolls report showed that the U.S. economy lost a staggering number of jobs in September. The Dow and the S&P 500 ended their seven and six day streak of gains respectively. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate touched its lowest level since 2000.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) closed at 22,773.67, declining about 2 points. The S&P 500 Index (INX) decreased 0.1% to close at 2,549.33. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite Index (IXIC) closed at 6,590.18, increasing 0.1%. Declining issues outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by 1.99-to-1 ratio. On the Nasdaq, decliners outnumbered advancers by 1.22-to-1 ratio. The CBOE VIX increased 8.3% to close at 9.95.
Benchmarks End their Winning Streak
The S&P 500 ended its eight-day streak of gains on Friday. This marked its longest consecutive daily gains in the last four years and its longest run of record closes since 1997. Of the 11 major sectors of the S&P 500, eight ended in the negative territory, with consumer staples and energy sectors leading the decliners. The Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLP) decreased almost 1% and the Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE) was down 0.9%.
The Dow also snapped its seven-day streak of gains after declining 1.72 points. Shares of both Chevron Corp. (CVX – Free Report) and Boeing (BA – Free Report) declined 1.3% and 0.1%, respectively and were the biggest drags on the Dow. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq could manage meager gains after advancing almost 5 points to close at a record at 6,590.18. Both the companies possess a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
The U.S. Economy Loses a Plethora of Jobs
The U.S. lost a staggering number of jobs last month, according to the latest non-farm payrolls report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The U.S. economy lost about 33,000 jobs in the month of September. This marked the first time since 2010 that the economy had lost jobs in a month. Economists stated that two devastating hurricanes Harvey and Irma — causing widespread destruction — as the primary reason behind such job losses.
Analysts commented that as many as 1.5 million people were out of jobs — the highest figure in last 20 years. The worst affected sector was the restaurant industry where as many as 105,000 people lost jobs. Meanwhile, the government raised its estimates on job openings in the month of August to 169,000 from 156,000 initially.
Economists commented that the U.S. economy has been expanding for the last eight years and this growth has now begun to somewhat slow down. This is also one of the primary reasons behind the loss in jobs. However, they also believe that the hiring would spring back to normal in October as the job openings are at a record high in the United States.
The unemployment rate decreased to 4.2% in September from 4.4% in August. However, the consensus estimate for the period showed that the unemployment rate would remain unchanged. This is its lowest level since 2000 and the report by BLS stated that this was not affected by the hurricanes.
Meanwhile, hourly wages surged 0.5% to $26.55 per hour, gaining 2.9% in the past 12 months to come in line with its post-recession high. However, the consensus for the period was an increase of 0.3%.
For the week, the Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq gained 1.7%, 1.2% and 1.5%, respectively. While the Dow and the S&P 500 rose for four consecutive weeks, the Nasdaq marked its second weekly gain. Fed Presidents Neel Kashkari and Rob Kaplan cautioned the Fed to wait until inflation rate touches the 2% level, before hiking interest rates. President Trump criticized the mass shooting at Las Vegas and described the horrific act as an “act of pure evil.”
ISM Services Index in September came in at 59.8%, surpassing the consensus estimate of 55.5%. This also marked its highest level since Aug 2005 when the index logged a reading 61.3%. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives passed a $4.1 trillion budget bill for 2018. This package also includes $1.1 trillion for non-entitlement spending which further includes the U.S. defense budget for 2018.
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