Stocks fade from records; S&P breaks win streak
NEW YORK — U.S. stocks faded a bit from their record highs on Friday after telecom and energy stocks sank. The loss for the Standard & Poor’s 500 index was small, but it was the first in nearly two weeks.
Much of the day’s action was centered on the government’s jobs report, which is usually the most anticipated economic data of each month, but it was a muddled one.
Economists cautioned not to read too much into the hiring numbers, which were far weaker than expected, because they were distorted by hurricanes that damaged businesses from Texas to Florida. Investors focused instead on a strongerthan-expected rise in workers’ wages, which helped to push Treasury yields higher.
The S&P 500 fell 2.74 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,549.33. The loss meant the end of the longest winning streak for the index in four years. Roughly nine stocks fell for every five that rose on the New York Stock Exchange.
The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 1.72, or less than 0.1 percent, to 22,773.67. The Nasdaq composite added 4.82, or 0.1 percent, to 6,590.18. All three indexes had closed at records on Thursday.
The government’s jobs report showed that employers cut more jobs last month than they added, the first time that’s happened in seven years. It’s a sharp turnaround from earlier this year, when the strengthening job market was encouraging investors to push stocks higher and higher.
Hurricanes Harvey and Irma meant the closure of thousands of businesses, and drops in employment at restaurants and bars were a big driver of last month’s decline.
Many investors saw September’s job losses as an aberration. Other economic data have been more encouraging, including strong reports on the nation’s manufacturing and services sectors earlier this week.
Friday’s jobs report also contained signs of strength. Average hourly wages jumped 2.9 percent in September from a year earlier, more than economists expected.
Telecom stocks in the S&P 500 fell 2 percent, the largest drop among the 11 sectors that make up the index.