The Dow and the S&P 500 gained some altitude Friday morning–but benchmarks were on track for weekly losses–after a cooler-than-expected employment report. U.S. nonfarm payrolls increased a seasonally adjusted 155,000 last month, the Labor Department reported. The unemployment rate held steady at 3.7%, hanging near the lowest rate since 1969. Year-over-year wage growth matched the prior month’s 3.1% pace as the best rate since 2009. The data are closely watched amid the Federal Reserve’s plan to normalize interest rates, with its coming rate-setting meeting scheduled for Dec. 18-19. Although some softness in the data following last month’s figures aren’t likely to prevent the Fed from lifting benchmark interest rates, currently at a range between 2% and 2.25%, a quarter-of-a-basis-point later this month, there are signs that policy makers may take a more conservative tack in 2019. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -2.24% was trading 0.4% higher at 25,055, those for the S&P 500 index SPX, -2.33% edged 0.4% higher at 2,705, while the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -3.05% rose 0.1% at 7,196. For the week, the Dow is set for a loss of 1.9%, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq are on track to produce a weekly loss of about 2%. In corporate news, shares of Big Lots Inc. BIG, -23.08% were sharply lower after the discount retailer reported disappointing third-quarter results and lowered its full-year guidance. Investors also have been closely watching a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia, which reached an agreement in Vienna to cut crude-oil output, delivering a jolt to crude-oil prices CLF9, +1.24% and the energy sector.
See Full Story Dow closes down 550 points as stocks post biggest weekly fall since March
U.S. stocks deepened their losses Friday as new jitters on trade