U.S. stocks fall Friday afternoon, with the S&P 500 on track for a fourth straight day of losses, as investors parsed the July jobs report from the Department of Labor along with Big Tech earnings from Amazon and Apple. All three major indexes were heading for weekly losses heading toward the closing bell.
How stock indexes are trading
The Dow Jones Industrial Average
fell 173 points, or 0.5%, to 35,040.
The S&P 500
shed 26 points, or 0.6%, to around 4,475.
The Nasdaq Composite
slipped 57 points, or 0.4%, to 13,902.
For the week, the Dow was on track to fall 1.1%, the S&P 500 was on pace to decline 2.2% and the Nasdaq was heading for a 2.7% drop, FactSet data show, at last check.
What’s driving markets
Stocks fell Friday afternoon, giving up earlier gains after the latest labor-market report showed the U.S. economy continued to create jobs in July while average hourly earnings rose.
The U.S. economy added 187,000 jobs last month, with the unemployment rate falling to 3.5% from 3.6% in June, according to a report Friday from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The report also showed average hourly earnings rose 0.4% in July, up 4.4% over the past 12 months.
Last month’s wage growth was slightly higher than expected, while the number of jobs created was a bit softer than the 200,000 anticipated by Wall Street analysts.
The jobs report was “pretty benign,” being neither too hot nor too cold, said Randy Frederick, Charles Schwab’s managing director of trading and derivatives, in a phone interview Friday. “Recession seems highly unlikely in 2023,” while traders, after digesting the employment data, still expect the Federal Reserve to hold interest rates steady at its meeting next month, he said.
Slowing job growth may bolster hopes that the Fed’s rate hikes could succeed in cooling the economy — and inflation with it — without leading to a hard landing.
However, many economists and analysts flagged the slightly hotter-than-expected wage growth in July as a potential sticking point for the Fed. The annualized 4.4% rise is well above the Fed’s target of 2% inflation, said Bankrate senior economic analyst Mark Hamrick, in emailed commentary Friday.
Adam Farstrup, head of the multi-asset team for the Americas at Schroders, said by phone Friday that his base case is for a “soft landing” for the U.S. economy, but he’s monitoring wage growth and a recent rise in oil prices
as possible sources for a potential second round of inflation.
Read: Oil scores 6th straight weekly rise after supply cuts
Investors will get a reading on July inflation next week, with monthly data from the consumer-price index due out on Aug. 10.
Meanwhile, Treasury yields dropped after the jobs report. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note
fell 12.8 basis points Friday to 4.06%, its largest daily decline since early May based on 3 p.m. Eastern Time levels, but remained up for the week, according to Dow Jones Market Data.
Investors also continued to digest quarterly earnings results, including reports from Big Tech companies Apple Inc.
after the market’s close on Thursday. Amazon was the best-performing stock in the S&P 500 on Friday afternoon, up more than 9%, while shares of Apple fell more than 4% to become the biggest loser in the Dow, according to FactSet data, at last check.
“Apple is probably getting beaten up because its guidance was not spectacular,” said Charles Schwab’s Frederick. Overall, earnings season for the second quarter “started off really good and it’s not so great now.”
With the vast majority of companies now having reported their results, overall earnings growth has recently fallen below expectations for the period, dropping more than anticipated year over year, he said. Analysts are expecting the second quarter to be this year’s quarterly earnings trough, according to Frederick.
The S&P 500 is up almost 17% so far this year, according to FactSet data, at last check.
“To see further upside in the equity market, we do think you would have to see much greater optimism about the path of earnings” in the third and four quarters, said Schroders’s Farstrup. As for buying opportunities, “the cyclical areas are really what we are most interested in,” he said, pointing to financials and industrials as examples.
Companies in focus
shares fell after the consumer-technology behemoth reported a third-straight quarter of declining sales.
shares jumped after the company reported quarterly profit that beat expectations.
Icahn Enterprises L.P.
shares plunged after the company said it’s cuttings its quarterly distribution to $1 from $2.
Tupperware Brands Corp.
saw another huge pop on Friday after announcing a debt-restructuring agreement late Thursday.
Shares of Nikola Corp.
sank after the electric-vehicle maker beat Wall Street expectations for second-quarter losses and revenue, but slashed its full-year outlook.
Steve Goldstein contributed to this article.
>>> Read full article>>>
Copyright for syndicated content belongs to the linked Source : MarketWatch – http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story.asp?guid=%7B20C06575-04D4-B545-7241-5906E04B9F10%7D&siteid=rss&rss=1