The Dow and S&P 500 booked gains on Friday, logging a third day of gains in a row, on the heels of the government jobs report that showed hiring slowed in August. The Dow (INDU) closed up 70 points, or 0.3%, while the S&P 500 (SPX) finished up 0.1%. Both indexes alternated between gains and losses shortly after the opening bell. The Nasdaq Composite (COMP) was the only major index finishing in the red. It closed down 0.2%.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 394.18 points, or 1.5%, to 26,797.46 this past week, while the S&P 500 rose 1.8% to 2978.71, and the Nasdaq Composite climbed 1.8% to 8103.07. Those gains followed last week’s 2.8% rise in the S&P 500 and marked the first two-week winning streak since July.
Friday morning’s jobs report showed the United States added 130,000 jobs last month, missing expectations and providing further evidence of a slowdown in hiring. Private payrolls grew at the weakest pace since May.Wage growth, however, grew 3.2% from a year ago. And the unemployment rate held steady at 3.7%, near the lowest level in the past 50 years.Investors bid safe-haven bonds higher after the report. The 10-year Treasury yield declined to 1.552%, compared with 1.6% before the jobs report. Gold prices also rose earlier in the day, but then gave up their gains.
Stocks have closed higher over the past two sessions, logging their best day in three weeks on Thursday amid optimism over US-China trade relations. Washington and Beijing are set to return to the negotiating table in October.The jobs report probably won’t derail expectations of further interest rate cuts.
The Federal Reserve first cut rates in July to boost the economy. Expectations for a quarter percentage point cut at the September 18 meeting are at 91%, according to the CME’s FedWatch tool. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell didn’t offer indications on the central banks plans in remarks he delivered at an event at the Swiss National Bank. However, Powell said the Fed did not see a recession coming, pledging that the central bank would act as appropriate to ensure the expansion keeps going.