Stocks showed a lack of direction early in the session on Friday but have moved mostly lower over the course of the trading day. The major averages have slid more firmly into negative territory, extending the sell-off seen late in the previous session.
The major averages have seen further downside in recent trading, falling to new lows for the session. The Dow is down 136.97 points or 0.4 percent at 34,541.38, the Nasdaq is down 83.50 points or 0.6 percent at 14,137.02 and the S&P 500 is down 22.26 points or 0.5 percent at 4,508.15.
The weakness on Wall Street has partly been attributed to concerns about the economic outlook following an inversion of two-year and ten-year treasury yields, which is often a precursor for a recession.
Traders also remain worried about the outlook for interest rates after the Labor Department’s closely watched monthly jobs report showed employment increased by less than expected in March but the unemployment rate still fell to a new pandemic-era low.
The report showed non-farm payroll employment jumped by 431,000 jobs in March after surging by an upwardly revised 750,000 jobs in February.
Economists had expected employment to spike by 490,000 jobs compared to the addition of 678,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.
While the job growth in March fell short of estimates, revisions to data for the two previous months showed employment increased by 95,000 more jobs than previously reported.
The strong job growth still contributed to a drop in the unemployment rate, which dipped to 3.6 percent in March from 3.8 percent in February. The unemployment rate was expected to edge down to 3.7 percent.
With the bigger than expected decrease, the unemployment rate fell to its lowest level since hitting 3.5 percent in February of 2020.
Kathy Bostjancic, Chief U.S. Financial Economist at Oxford Economics, said the report “reinforces the Federal Reserve’s strong resolve to rein in inflation and bolsters the case for a 50 basis point rate…
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