Wall Street ended lower today (August 5), weighed down by Tesla and other technology-related stocks after a solid jobs report torpedoed recent optimism that the Federal Reserve might let up its aggressive campaign to reign in decades-high inflation.
Data showed US employers hired far more workers than expected in July, the 19th straight month of payrolls expansion, with the unemployment rate falling to a pre-pandemic low of 3.5 per cent.
The report added to recent data painting an upbeat picture of the world’s largest economy after it contracted in the first half of the year. That deflated investors’ expectations that the Fed might let up in its series of rate hikes aimed at cooling the economy.
“This is all about the Fed. A very strong jobs report like we had puts pressure on the Fed to tighten for longer,” said Adam Sarhan, chief executive of 50 Park Investments.
“The market is scared the Fed is going to overshoot again. If they tighten too sharply and too long, that’s going to cause a hard landing, a deep recession.”
Tesla tumbled and weighed heavily on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq. Facebook-owner Meta Platforms and Amazon also fell and pulled down the index.
FOCUS SHIFTS TO INFLATION DATA
US Treasury yields climbed as odds increased of a 75-basis-point interest rate hike in September. That helped bank JPMorgan and other bank stocks.
Focus now shifts to inflation data due next week, with US annual consumer prices expected to jump by 8.7 per cent in July after a 9.1 per cent rise in June.
Several policymakers have this week stuck to an aggressive policy tightening stance until they see strong and long-lasting evidence that inflation was trending toward the Fed’s two per cent goal.
Surging inflation, the war in Ukraine, Europe’s energy crisis and COVID-19 flare-ups in China have rattled investors this year.
LYFT INC SURGES
A largely upbeat second-quarter earnings season has helped the S&P 500 bounce back by about 13 per cent from its mid-June lows after a rough first-half performance.
According to preliminary data, the S&P 500 lost 7.23 points, or 0.17 per cent, to end at 4,144.71 points, while the Nasdaq Composite lost 64.90 points, or 0.51 per cent, to 12,655.68. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 69.97 points, or 0.21 per cent, to 32,796.79.
Lyft Inc surged after the ride-hailing firm forecast an adjusted operating profit of US$1 billion for 2024 after posting record quarterly earnings.