(Sharecast News) – Major indices were mostly lower early on Friday as market participants digested a nonfarm payrolls report that came in significantly lower than forecast.
As of 1520 BST, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.17% at 35,384.98 and the S&P 500 was 0.05% weaker at 4,534.68, while the Nasdaq Composite came out the gate 0.18% firmer at 15,359.41.
The Dow opened 58.84 points lower on Friday, cutting into gains recorded yesterday on the back of better-than-expected jobless claims data.
Friday’s main focus was August’s nonfarm payrolls data, which revealed hiring in the US slowed sharply last month as the delta variant of Covid-19 rolled across the country. According to the Department of Labor, non-farm payrolls increased by 235,000 in August, well and truly short of the 787,000 gain anticipated by consensus estimates. Non-farm payrolls for June and July were revised higher by a combined 134,000.
On the other hand, the country’s unemployment rate, which is derived from a separate survey to the one used for non-farm payrolls, did reveal a drop from 5.4% in the month before to 5.2%, just as expected.
Investors will look over the report for any hints as to just how quickly the Federal Reserve may look to remove easy monetary policy.
Also on the macro front, the Institute for Supply Management’s services PMI fell to 61.7% in August, down from its record high 64.1% in July.
No major corporate earnings were slated for release on Friday.