NEW YORK — Stocks were falling Friday after a critical report on U.S. hiring showed employers created far fewer jobs than expected. It gave investors pause on whether the delta variant of the coronavirus was starting to impact economic growth out of the pandemic.
The S&P 500 index fell 0.1% as of 10 a.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.4% and the technology-heavy Nasdaq composite was up 0.3%.
Technology stocks did particularly well last year during the pandemic, so its unsurprising to see traders move back into those investments again. Hewlett Packard Enterprises, Broadcom, NetApp and Seagate Technologies were all up 1.5% or more.
America’s employers added just 235,000 jobs in August, a surprisingly weak gain after two months of robust hiring at a time when the delta variant’s spread has discouraged some people from flying, shopping and eating out.
The August job gains the government reported Friday fell far short of the big gains in June and July of roughly 1 million a month. The gains in June and July followed widespread vaccinations that allowed the economy to ease pandemic restrictions.
The negative jobs report could be long-time good for stock investors however. The Fed has indicated it might begin winding down its bond purchases of $120 billion a month that pump money into the financial system until they have more data that the U.S. recovery is on solid footing. This report may give Fed policymakers pause and may delay the Fed's plans.
Bond yields moved higher on the news. The 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.33% from 1.30% the day before.
The Associated Press