Stocks pared much of their earlier losses on Friday as investors looked to hotter-than-expected employment data at the upcoming Federal Reserve meeting.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up just 34.87 points, or 0.1%, to 34,429.88, after hitting a session low of more than 350 points. The S&P 500 fell 0.1% to 4,071.70, rebounding from a previous loss of 1.2%. The Nasdaq Composite Index also rose, ending down about 0.2%, at 11,461.50 points. The technology-heavy index fell as much as 1.6% earlier in the day.
All three indices posted weekly gains, with the Nasdaq index posting the largest increase, around 2.1%. The S&P 500 rose 1.1%, and the Dow rose 0.2%. Friday’s close marked the first time the three major indexes posted consecutive weekly gains since October.
Stocks fell after employment data released Friday morning showed payrolls rose by 263,000 in November, greater gain than the 200,000 increase expected by economists polled by Dow Jones. Average hourly earnings also came in above expectations, jumping 0.6% month-on-month and 5.1% year-on-year. The unemployment rate held steady at 3.7%.
The market has suppressed a lot of those losses as the trading day continues. Market watchers attributed the move to investors’ increasing ability to brush off individual economic indicators after remarks on Wednesday from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell that appeared to Confirmation of slowing price increases Start early December.
“One strong labor data point will not be enough after Powell’s speech,” said Anna Hahn, vice president of Wells Fargo Securities. “It confirms that we are seeing the trend of our impact on inflation, so I think that would kind of calm the market and take the pressure off.”
This was the last monthly employment report before the Fed’s two-day meeting on December 13-14, where the central bank is expected to slow to a 50 basis point rate hike from the 75 basis point hikes seen in recent months.
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