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U.S. stocks tumbled at the start of trading Friday as Wall Street weighed the government’s monthly employment report, which showed a slowdown in September hiring but a still-robust labor market.
The U.S. economy added 263,000 jobs last month as the unemployment rate fell to 3.5%. Economists expected a payroll gain of 255,000 and for unemployment to hold at 3.7%.
The S&P 500 (^GSPC) dropped off 1.3%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) shed 300 points, or 1%. The Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) led the way down, declining 1.8%. Meanwhile in the bond market, Treasury yields spiked, with the benchmark 10-year note jumping 7 basis points to 3.90% and the 2-year yield 8 basis points to 4.32%.
“The market’s negative reaction may be a sign that investors are processing the likelihood that there will be no change in the Fed’s aggressive playbook in the near term,” Mike Loewengart, head of model portfolio construction at Morgan Stanley’s Global Investment Office, said in a note. “Keep in mind the next Fed decision isn’t until early November so much more data will need to be digested, not the least of which is next week’s inflation gauge.”
Stocks closed the previous trade lower for a second straight day after a blowout two-day rally faltered. Still, the major averages remain firmly off 2022 lows and are on pace to close the week on a positive note.
Investors are betting that signs of a cooling labor market would force Federal Reserve policymakers to change course on their aggressive rate-hiking path, particularly after a series of weaker economic releases showed a drop-off in manufacturing activity and fewer job openings. But many Wall Street strategists have argued that hopes of an imminent pivot are premature, a sentiment that this jobs report likely reinforces.
In recent research notes, JPMorgan analysts said that equity bulls would need a monthly payroll print as low as 100,000 to see the market alter its Fed expectations, while analysts at Bank of America said a pivot won’t occur “until payrolls sting.”
“The Fed’s job is still far from over: expect hikes to continue until negative payrolls are almost in hand,” a team at BofA led by rates research strategist Meghan Swiber noted.
Moreover, Federal Reserve officials themselves have delivered clear messaging in recent weeks that there are so far no plans to retreat from aggressive policy intervention.
“We have further to go,” Chicago Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Evans said Thursday, indicating the benchmark rate will likely be at 4.5% to 4.75% by the spring of 2023. “”Inflation is high right now and we need a more restrictive setting of monetary policy.”
U.S. crude oil futures continued this week’s climb on the heels of the heftiest OPEC+ production cut since 2020. DataTrek Research noted that West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude at more than $85 per barrel will prolong positive energy inflation trends until at least the start of 2023. The firm also noted that oil prices are an “underappreciated fulcrum issue” for the Federal Reserve and the market’s expectations of near-term economic growth. WTI futures traded around $90 per barrel early Friday, up $10 this week.
Elsewhere in markets, chipmakers were under pressure Friday morning after Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) lowered its third-quarter revenue guidance and warned of “significant” inventory corrections across the PC supply chain. Shares were fell 7% early into the session. Also weighing on the sector was Samsung reporting its first profit decline since 2019, another sign of a troubled chip market.
Levi Strauss (LEVI) was also a mover Friday after the retailer cut its guidance, citing headwinds from a stronger dollar, slowing consumer demand and persistent supply chain snafus. The stock was down around 5% Friday morning.
Meanwhile, shares of DraftKing (DKING) jumped nearly 5% after Bloomberg News reported Thursday that ESPN is nearing a large new partnership deal with the sports-betting company, citing sources familiar with the agreement.
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