Wall Street ends choppy day lower after jobs data

New York, July 8 (BNA): Wall Street’s major indexes closed lower on Friday in a swing session, as investors digested a US jobs report that showed weaker-than-expected growth and waited for more economic data and corporate earnings in the coming weeks.

US government data showed that the US added the fewest number of jobs in two-and-a-half years in June, although continued strong wage growth points to still-tight labor market conditions.

Reuters reported that the S&P 500 was solidly higher for most of the afternoon, but shares sold off at the end of the session.

“Investors are more cautious going into a very important week with the start of earnings season and a very important inflation reading in the middle of the week,” said Quincy Crosby, chief global strategist at LBL Financial.

The report showed non-farm payrolls increased by 209,000 last month after Thursday’s sell-off sparked by a rise in private payrolls in June that raised fears that the Federal Reserve may move aggressively to raise interest rates to tame inflation.

“Today’s jobs report I think is consistent with what the Fed would like to see,” said Josh Gamener, investment strategist at ClearBridge Investments.

“It doesn’t mean that job is done or that mission is accomplished. But a continued cooling in the labor market will eventually make their lives easier.”

On Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 187.38 points, or 0.55%, to 33,734.88, the Standard & Poor’s lost 12.64 points, or 0.29%, to 4,398.95 points, and the Nasdaq Composite fell 18.33 points, or 0.13%, to 13,660.72.

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Among the S&P 500 sectors, defensive groups were the biggest decliners, with consumer goods falling 1.3%. Energy rose 2.1% while materials rose 0.9%. Small-cap Russell 2000 stock ended up 1.2% for the day.

Major indices ended with weekly losses after a strong first half of the year. Over the course of the week, the S&P 500 is down about 1.2%, the Dow Jones is down about 2% and the Nasdaq is down 0.9%.

The Fed is still widely expected to raise interest rates at its meeting later this month after pausing it in June, as job growth remains above the pace in the decade before the pandemic.

Chicago Fed President Austin Goolsby said he and his fellow US central bankers don’t disagree that interest rates will need to rise several times this year to overcome very high inflation.

And in company news, shares of Levi Strauss & Co (LEVI.N) fell 7.7% after the denim clothing maker cut its annual profit forecast.

Shares of Rivian Automotive (RIVN.O) rose 14.2% after the electric vehicle maker reported better-than-expected quarterly deliveries.

Shares of US-listed Alibaba rose 8% after Chinese authorities said they would fine Ant Group $984 million, ending the fintech subsidiary’s years-long regulatory overhaul.

Advances outnumbered losers on the New York Stock Exchange by a ratio of 2.49 to 1; On the Nasdaq, the ratio of 2.00 to 1 was in favor of the advanced traders.

The S&P 500 posted 11 new 52-week highs and five new lows; The Nasdaq index posted 45 new highs and 63 new lows.

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About 10.3 billion shares changed hands on US exchanges, compared to the daily average of 11.1 billion shares over the last 20 sessions.

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