- February 4, 2022
- Posted by: Bastion team
- Category: World News
Stocks were mixed Friday morning as investors viewed a much stronger-than-expected jobs report as bolstering the case for the Federal Reserve to continue down its more hawkish monetary policy path.
The S&P 500 dipped to extend Thursday’s losses. The Dow also declined, while the Nasdaq rose. A day earlier, the Nasdaq Composite index sank by 3.7% for its worst single-day decline since September 2020. Oil prices also remained in focus as U.S. West Texas intermediate crude oil prices jumped further above $90 per barrel after crossing that threshold for the first time since 2014 on Thursday.
New labor market data was the major focal point for investors on Friday, showing employment growth held up much more robustly than expected despite the surge in Omicron cases at the beginning of the year. Payrolls grew by 467,000, or well above the 125,000 expected to return, and job gains for December were upwardly revised to more than half a million. The labor force participation rate also improved markedly, and average hourly earnings jumped by a greater-than-expected 5.7%, or the most since May 2020.
The latest jobs report came as a surprise following a string of other softening data points on the state of the labor market, with ADP’s private payrolls report showing earlier this week the first contraction in private-sector employment in more than a year. But Friday’s report offered potential fodder for the hawks in the Federal Reserve to press ahead with their plans to raise interest…