Booming Jobs Report Puts a Damper on Wall Street

Good news was bad news in this case
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 3, 2023 3:15 PM CST
Booming Jobs Report Puts a Damper on Wall Street
A hiring sign is displayed at a Chipotle restaurant in Schaumburg, Ill., Monday, Jan. 30, 2023.   (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Wall Street's rally hit a wall Friday after a surprisingly strong jobs report fueled worries about inflation and higher interest rates. All three major indexes fell: The Dow lost 127 points, or 0.3%, to 33,926; the S&P 500 lost 43 points, or 1%, to 4,136; and the Nasdaq lost 193 points, or 1.5%, to 12,006. For the benchmark S&P, that still marks its fourth winning week out of the last five. The market already looked like it was set to weaken coming into the day, before the jolting jobs report dropped, per the AP. That's because late Thursday, several Big Tech companies among Wall Street’s most influential (including Amazon and Alphabet) reported weaker profit than expected for the latest quarter.

Then came the jobs report, which showed employers created a net 517,000 jobs last month, way above expectations of 185,000 and a sharp acceleration from December’s 226,000. Normally, a stronger jobs report is good for Wall Street because it means the economy is on firmer footing. But in this upside-down post-COVID world, it could be a worrisome sign in the eyes of the Fed in regard to inflation. Treasury yields zoomed higher after the jobs report on forecasts for a stricter Fed. The yield on the two-year Treasury, which tends to track expectations for the Fed, jumped to 4.30% from 4.10% late Thursday. The 10-year yield, which helps sets rates for mortgages and other important loans, rose to 3.53% from 3.40%.

Amazon fell 8.7% on Friday and was one of the biggest weights on the S&P 500, while Google's parent company Alphabet dropped 3.1%. Because they're among the most valuable stocks on Wall Street, their movements carry more weight on the S&P than others. On the winning side was Clorox, which jumped 8.7% after reporting much stronger profit for the end of 2022 than expected.

(More stock market stories.)

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