NEW YORK: US stock indexes fell on Friday, dragged down by shares of Apple and Tesla, while a solid jobs report supported the view that the Federal Reserve would continue on its aggressive policy tightening path to cool decades-high inflation.
Ten of the 11 major S&P sectors declined in early trade, with consumer discretionary losing 2.2% and technology falling 1.6%. The energy sector was an outlier with a gain of 1%.
The Labor Department’s closely watched report showed nonfarm payrolls rose by 390,000 jobs last month and wages grew solidly, while the unemployment rate held steady at 3.6% - all signs of a tight labor market.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast nonfarm payrolls to rise by 325,000 jobs.
“(This report) gives permission to the Fed to keep going with their rate hikes because the labor market is strong. They can worry more about inflation pressures and less about the labor market,” said Anthony Saglimbene, global market strategist at Ameriprise Financial.
“The market is still concerned about wage inflation. Even at 0.3% that is still a very high rate. If wage inflation was lower the market reaction could be more positive.” Volatility has gripped Wall Street in recent weeks due to hawkish comments from Fed officials, even as a recent set of data suggested that inflation may have peaked.
The blue-chip Dow has fallen 9% so far this year, the benchmark S&P 500 has lost 13%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq has shed 22.7%, with rate-sensitive growth stocks bearing the brunt of the selloff.
“The selloff over the last few weeks could be a floor, but we do not see a lot of rationale for markets to rally materially. We will be within a trading range because the markets are waiting further information,” said Alan McKnight, chief investment officer at Regions Private Wealth.
At 10:20 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 161.21 points, or 0.48%, at 33,087.07, the S&P 500 was down 43.57 points, or 1.04%, at 4,133.25, and the Nasdaq Composite was down 207.54 points, or 1.68%, at 12,109.36.
Apple Inc slid 3.0%, hit by a bearish brokerage comment and a report that EU countries and lawmakers were set to agree on a common charging port for mobile phones, tablets and headphones on June 7, a proposal that has been fiercely criticized by the iPhone maker.
Tesla Inc dropped 7.0% after CEO Elon Musk, in an email to executives seen by Reuters, said he has a “super bad feeling” about the economy and needs to cut about 10% of jobs at the electric carmaker.
Micron Technology also fell 7% after Piper Sandler downgraded the memory-chip maker’s stock to “underweight”, citing concerns about its heavy exposure to mobiles and PCs at a time when rising inflation forces consumers to rein in spending.
Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 3.58-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.79-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 1 new 52-week high and 29 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 18 new highs and 43 new lows.