July 24th, 2024

Stock market today: Wall Street sticks near its records as yields slide after jobs report

By Elaine Kurtenbach And Matt Ott, The Associated Press on July 5, 2024.

NEW YORK (AP) – U.S. stocks are sticking near their records following a jobs report that showed a slowdown in hiring and contained nuggets of data for both optimists and pessimists. The S&P 500 was virtually unchanged at the start of trading on Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.1%, and the Nasdaq composite rose 0.1%. Treasury yields sank following the nuanced U.S. jobs report, which reinforced belief on Wall Street that the U.S. economy’s growth is slowing and that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates later this year. Bitcoin tumbled again, and its value against the dollar is back to where it was in February.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

(AP) – Wall Street was mixed in slow post-holiday trading ahead of the June jobs report, which could influence the Federal Reserve’s next interest rate decision.

Futures for the S&P 500 inched up less than 0.1% before the bell Friday and futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell less than 0.1% after the Fourth of July holiday.

The U.S. government will give its comprehensive update about how many workers employers added to their payrolls during June. Traders are watching such numbers closely in hopes that they will show the economy is slowing enough to prove that inflation is under control, but not so much that it will tip into recession.

That would raise the likelihood of the Federal Reserve cutting interest rates that it has been keeping at two-decade highs, which would alleviate pressure on the economy by making borrowing less costly.

Economists believe that employers added 190,000 jobs – a solid gain, though down from a robust 272,000 in May. Job openings have also steadily declined this year. While layoffs remain relatively low, they have risen the past month or so and the number of Americans collecting jobless benefits is at its highest level since late 2021.

The report “will play a crucial role in shaping expectations for near-term Federal Reserve rate cuts,” said Anderson Alves of Activ Trades. “Markets currently anticipate a reasonable chance of two rate cuts this year, contrasting with the Fed’s median forecast of just one reduction in 2024.”

Tesla picked up another 1.7% early Friday and was on track for its eighth straight winning day after reporting earlier this week that sales fell again last quarter, but not as sharply as many had believed. Its shares are up nearly 36% since June 24.

Elsewhere, shares were broadly higher in Europe after Britain’s Labour Party prevailed over the Conservatives in this week’s national election.

In London, the FTSE 100 initially climbed 0.3% before falling back to no gain. The British pound rose to $1.2786 from $1.2760 late Thursday. The euro rose to $1.0821 from $1.0812.

Britain experienced a run of turbulent years during Conservative rule that left many voters pessimistic about their country’s future. The U.K.’s exit from the European Union followed by the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine battered the economy. Rising poverty and cuts to state services have led to gripes about “Broken Britain.”

Labour leader Keir Starmer faces the daunting task of reinvigorating a stagnant economy and dispirited nation.

Germany’s DAX jumped 0.8% after the government agreed on a budget for 2025 and a stimulus package for Europe’s largest economy, ending a monthslong squabble that threatened to upend Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s center-left coalition.

The disagreements had fueled speculation that the already unpopular government could collapse and prompt a snap parliamentary election in which Germany could follow other European countries by swinging toward the political right.

The CAC 40 in Paris rose 0.3%.

In Asian trading, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 topped 41,000 early Friday but then fell back from Thursday’s record close of 40,913.65. It shed just over 1 point to end at 40,912.37 after the government reported that consumer spending fell 1.8%, more than forecast, in May.

The dollar slipped to 160.66 Japanese yen from 161.26 yen.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 1.3% to 17,799.61 and the Shanghai Composite index gave up 0.3% to 2,949.93. The Shanghai benchmark has been trading near its lowest levels since February.

The Kospi in Seoul jumped 1.3% to 2,862.23 after Samsung Electronics forecast that its operating profit in the second quarter will balloon more than 15 times from a year earlier to 10.4 trillion won ($7.52 billion).

Like Nvidia, Taiwan’s TSMC, Tokyo Electron and other computer chip makers, Samsung is benefiting from a rebound in the semiconductor industry as applications using artificial intelligence take off.

Elsewhere in the region, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.1% to 7,822.30. Taiwan’s Taiex edged 0.1% higher and the SET in Bangkok was up 0.8%.

U.S. benchmark crude oil gained a penny to $83.87 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Brent crude, the international standard, declined 13 cents to $87.30 per barrel.

Bitcoin tumbled again, falling another 3.8%. The cryptocurrency has already lost more than 13% of its value in the first five days of July and is at its lowest point in months.

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