WORLD

Stock market today: Wall Street opens mixed as job growth cools slightly

Jul 6, 2023, 11:51 PM | Updated: Jul 7, 2023, 6:42 am

NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street is opening mixed after data suggested the U.S. job market is still plenty warm enough to keep the economy growing but maybe not so hot that it stokes inflation. The S&P 500 was little changed in early trading Friday. The Dow fell 42 points, or 0.1%, and the Nasdaq composite was up 0.1%. A lot is riding on whether the economy can navigate the narrow pathway to avoid a long-predicted recession. Friday’s report showed U.S. employers added 209,000 jobs last month, a slowdown from May and not far off economists’ expectations. Treasury yields were mixed.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

U.S. futures fluctuated after monthly U.S. jobs numbers came in slightly better than expected, likely keeping the Federal Reserve on track to raise its main borrowing rate at its meeting later this month.

Futures for the Dow Jones industrials and S&P 500 were largely unchanged before the opening bell Friday after being down marginally before the jobs report was posted.

U.S. employers added 209,000 jobs in June, the Labor Department reported Friday, the fewest since December of 2020 but still a strong number. The unemployment rate ticked back down to 3.6% from 3.7%, near a five-decade low. Analysts were forecasting that the U.S. economy gained about 205,000 jobs last month.

Fed officials have already hinted that the central bank will likely raise rates by another half-point by the end of the year as inflation remains persistent while the job market flourishes.

Also Friday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is in Beijing attempting to ease tensions between the world’s two largest economies.

Yellen is meeting with senior Chinese officials to try to soothe antagonisms over a host of issues and promote global financial stability. Speaking with business people, she criticized China’s treatment of U.S. companies and new export controls on metals used in semiconductors, while defending U.S. controls on technology exports that irk Beijing, saying they’re needed for national security.

In Europe at midday, Germany’s DAX and the CAC 40 each advanced 0.5%. Britain’s FTSE 100 lost 0.3%.

In Asian trading, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 shed 1.2% to 32,388.42 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong dropped 0.9% to 18,365.70. The Shanghai Composite index lost 0.3% to 3,196.61, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 sank 1.7% to 7,042.30.

India’s Sensex sank 0.6% and Bangkok’s SET index was little changed.

On Thursday, the payroll provider ADP reported an explosive increase in hiring by private employers in June — 497,000 added jobs, nearly twice as much as expected. ADP’s hiring figures, though, often diverge from the government’s official data, but it was still enough to send U.S. markets sliding on anxiety over how a seemingly bulletproof jobs market will influence the Fed.

The Federal Reserve could respond by maintaining higher interest rates for longer in its campaign to cool the economy, and inflation.

Another report showed the number of U.S. workers applying for unemployment last week remains low.

“As the growth trajectory of the U.S. economy improves, it becomes increasingly more challenging to envision what would cause the Fed to CUT rates anytime soon, as many market participants have been anticipating,” Stephen Innes of SPI Asset Management wrote.

Bond yields dipped briefly after the jobs numbers came out, but rebounded to slightly lower levels than they were overnight. Hopes for a potential cut to interest rates by early next year are diminishing.

In other trading Friday, U.S. benchmark crude oil added 14 cents to $71.94 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained 1 cent to $71.80 on Thursday.

Brent crude, the pricing basis for international trading, picked up 19 cents to $76.71 per barrel.

The dollar slipped to 143.19 Japanese yen from 144.06 yen. The euro rose to $1.0916 from $1.0890.

On Thursday, the Dow dropped 1.1% and the S&P 500 lost 0.8%. The Nasdaq composite gave up 0.8%.

——

Kurtenbach reported from Bangkok; Ott reported from Silver Spring, Md.

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Stock market today: Wall Street opens mixed as job growth cools slightly