Stocks ended the week in the red, with the blue-chip Dow clocking its longest losing streak since 2011. It closed lower for a seventh straight session after we got a jobs report in line with upbeat expectations.
First, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 17,337.74, -82.01, (-0.47%)
- S&P 500: 2,072.52, -11.04, (-0.53%)
- Nasdaq: 5,029.16, -27.28, (-0.54%)
And now, the top stories on Friday:
- The US economy added 215,000 jobs in July and the unemployment rate held steady at a seven-year low of 5.3%, according to the Department of Labour. June’s print was revised up to 231,000 from 223,000. The broader “U-6” measure of unemployment, which counts those who are underemployed or want full-time work but can’t find any, fell 0.1% to 10.4%. Overall, it was a solid jobs report in line with expectations, boosting bets that the Federal Reserve could raise rates next month.
- Average hourly earnings increased 0.2% month-on-month after coming in flat for June. Compared to the prior year, wages grew 2.1% from 2.0%. “There is still absolutely no sign whatsoever of any meaningful acceleration in that growth rate,” wrote Capital Economics’ Paul Ashworth in a note to clients. “Nevertheless, Fed Chair Janet Yellen has stressed that an acceleration in wage growth is not a necessary pre-condition for raising interest rates, so it won’t prevent a September rate hike.”
- The US oil rig count climbed by six this week to 670, according to driller Baker Hughes. The tally has now risen for three straight weeks and for the fifth time in six weeks. The combined oil and gas rig count rose by 10 to 884. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures in New York traded lower for most of the day and troughed at $US43.70 per barrel, near the lows of the year.
- American Express shares spiked 5% after Bloomberg reported that activist hedge fund ValueAct is said to be acquiring a $US1 billion stake in the company. Per the report, American Express is not currently one of the hedge fund’s core targets. The company’s shares have slid 20% this year after the end of its partnership with Costco and the loss of an antitrust lawsuit.
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