Blue Chips Suffer Weekly Loss Following Friday’s Sharp Decline
Early gains in futures trading gave way to sharp declines by the closing bell Friday. Despite a better than expected October Employment Situation, Wall Street had another volatile session. Investors are nervous over the uncertainty surrounding Tuesday’s presidential election. The session was a disappointment following Thursday’s strong start to November. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 139.46 points, or 1.1%, to 13093.16. The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index shed 13.39 points, or 0.9%, to 1414.20. Its materials and energy shares slid as oil, gold and natural-gas prices fell. The Nasdaq Composite Index slid 37.93 points, or 1.3%, to 2982.13. The blue chips lost 0.1% for the week, its second consecutive weekly loss. The S&P rose 0.2% for its second gain in three weeks. The tech heavy Nasdaq declined 0.2% for its fourth weekly loss.
December crude oil fell $2.23, or 2.6%, to settle at $84.86 a barrel on the NYMEX; finishing the week with a 1.7% loss, to its lowest settlement since mid-July. Gold sank $40.30, or 2.4%, to settle at $1,675.20 an ounce, marking its fourth weekly loss in a row.
Payroll jobs growth topped expectations for October. Payroll jobs in October increased 171,000, following a gain of 148,000 in September (originally up 114,000) and a boost of 192,000 in August (previous estimate of 142,000). The net revisions for August and September were up 84,000. Analysts projected a 125,000 rise for October. Private payrolls increased 184,000 in October after gaining 128,000 the month before. Market expectations were for a 120,000 increase. Payroll gains were widespread in the private sector. Gains mostly accelerated but mildly. Government jobs shrank 13,000 in October after a 20,000 advance in September.
The unemployment rate edged up one tenth in October to 7.9 percent after dropping to 7.8 percent the prior month from 8.1 percent in August. The rise in the unemployment rate reflected a jump in the labor force of 578,000 while household employment rose 410,000. The number of unemployed rebounded 170,000.
Wage inflation has been a little volatile in recent months but still on a slowing trend. Average hourly earnings were flat in October, following a 0.3 percent jump the month before. The consensus forecast a 0.2 percent rise. The average workweek was unchanged at 34.4 hours in October. Expectations were for 34.5 hours