In this June 16, 2021 file photo, people walk on Broadway at Wall Street in New York. Stocks were falling Friday, Sept. 3, after a critical report on U.S. hiring showed employers created far fewer jobs than expected. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
The major stock indexes are mixed on Wall Street after the Labor Department reported that U.S. employers created far fewer jobs than expected last month.
The S&P 500 index was flat as of 2:34 p.m. Eastern and on pace for its second straight weekly gain. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.1% and the technology-heavy Nasdaq composite was up 0.2%.
Technology companies were higher. Communication and health care stocks also rose. Banks and companies that rely on consumer spending were among the biggest drags on the market.
The Labor Department said Friday that 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 coronavirus' highly contagious delta variant’s spread has discouraged some people from flying, shopping and eating out.
The August job gains fell far short of the big gains in June and July of roughly 1 million a month. Those gains followed widespread vaccinations that allowed the easing of many pandemic restrictions.
The jobs report led investors to question whether the delta variant is starting to impact economic growth.
Technology stocks did particularly well last year during the pandemic, so it was unsurprising to see traders move back into those investments again. Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Broadcom and NetApp were all up 1% or more.
Travel companies were lower. Carnival Corporation was the worst performer in the S&P 500, down 4.7%, followed by its competitor Royal Caribbean, down 4.5%. Las Vegas Sands, Marriott International and Wynn Resorts were all lower.
Friday's weak jobs report could actually benefit stock investors over the longer run, however. The Federal Reserve 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. The report may help prompt Fed policymakers to delay plans for winding down the central bank's support measures of the economy.
Bond yields moved higher. The 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.33% from 1.30% the day before.
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