On Friday, U.S. stocks gained, with the Dow reaching the 22,000 mark for the first time in more than two weeks, after weak August Jobs Reports advanced the chances of the Federal Reserve holding back on hiking interest rates again this year. The U.S. economy added 156,000 jobs last month, under the 180,000 projected by economists.
The unemployment rate increased to 4.4 percent from 4.3 percent, while average hourly earnings advanced 0.1 percent, below the 0.2 percent rise anticipated and 0.3 percent gains in July. The lethargic wage growth follows data from Thursday that displayed annual inflation in July advanced at its slowest pace in more than 1-1/2 years.
“This somewhat weaker-than-expected jobs report for August will increase expectations of a continued dovish Federal Reserve, putting immediate downward pressures on interest rates and the dollar,” stated Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic adviser at Allianz.
At 10:50 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 57.73 points, or 0.26 percent, at 22,005.83, the S&P 500 hiked 5.96 points, or 0.24 percent, at 2,477.61. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 4.82 points, or 0.07 percent, at 6,433.48.
All three major indexes are on pace to record gains for the second straight week, though trading volume remained flat as investors head into the Labor Day weekend.
The equity market could be exposed to volatility in September as the month ranks as the worst for stocks, according to the Stock Traders Almanac, generating an average price return of negative 0.5 percent for the S&P 500.
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“On a Friday before a long weekend with all the global events going on, people may be thinking this is the time to … take some profits. The volume is pretty light,” said Joe Colleran, head trader at Bank Leumi USA.
Eight of the 11 major sectors advanced, with the financial index’s 0.81 percent increase leading the advancers. Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,882 to 799. On the Nasdaq, 1,650 issues gained and 995 dropped.