Stocks finished the short week slightly lower after we got a jobs report that missed expectations and yet showed a labour market that’s still strong. After opening in the green, stocks slipped into early afternoon trading and barely turned positive again in the final five minutes.
First, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 17,719.39, -38.52, (-0.22%)
- S&P 500: 2,075.05, -2.37, (-0.11%)
- Nasdaq: 5,002.77, -10.36, (-0.21%)
And now, the top stories on Thursday:
- The June jobs report was a mixed bag. The US economy added 223,000 jobs, below expectations for 233,000. Wages were flat month-over-month, and rose 2% over the prior year, missing expectations. The labour participation rate fell to 62.7%, the lowest level since 1977. But the unemployment rate fell to 5.3% from 5.4%, in line with forecasts.
In a note to clients, BNP Paribas economists summed up the numbers like this: “The report was less positive than we expected, primarily due to the 60k in downward revisions to April and May,
though labour market slack continues to diminish. Today’s data will be seen by the market as slightly challenging a September rate hike, with the wages data likely to weigh more than the participation rate drive drop in the unemployment rate in affecting expectations. The bigger picture is that jobs growth is good, unemployment is falling and wages lag the cycle, these data are no green light for September, but they are no red either.”
- In other economic data, initial jobless claims rose to 281,000 last week, more than the consensus forecast for a fall to 270,000 from 271,000 in the prior period. “On balance, we are looking through the volatility in this week’s report and view historically low labour market separations as indicative of solid labour market fundamentals,” wrote Barclays economists to clients after the release.
- Factory orders fell yet again in May. Orders fell 1%, missing the estimate of -0.5%. Excluding the volatile transportation component, orders increased 0.1% in May from -0.1% in April. Factory orders have fallen for nine out of the past 10 months.
- Yanis Varoufakis says he will quit as finance minister if Greeks vote “Yes” in the referendum on Sunday. The country will decide whether to agree to a set of reforms its creditors are proposing as a condition for bailout. In an interview with Bloomberg, Varoufakis said he would, “prefer to cut [his] arm off” than sign a proposal that doesn’t involve restructuring Greece’s debt. In an earlier interview on Australia’s ABC Radio National, Varoufakis said that at last weekend’s negotiations, a Eurogroup official was concerned that ‘common folk‘ are being allowed to decide on the matter.
- The number of oil rigs in use in the US climbed for the first time in six months this week. Data from driller Baker Hughes showed a climb by 12 to 640, the first increase since December 5, 2014. The total rig count rose for a second week, by three to nine. Following the latest rig count data, West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices were up around 0.8%, just off their best levels of the day.
- Yelp shares fell more than 13% on a report that the company is no longer looking to sell. People familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that the company had been approached by several suitors, and had hired Goldman Sachs. Yelp’s stock price spiked more than 25% on the initial reports of a possible sale May 7, and today, fell right back to the level it was before the news.
- Etsy fell to an all-time low. With no immediate news on the company, the stock price slumped to as low as $US12.81, a level it hasn’t touched since it started trading on April 16. Shares are down 57% since that day. Amazon is developing a marketplace for craft makers that’s seen as a direct threat to Etsy’s business.