Stocks fade from records; S&P breaks win streak

The Progress-Index Weekend - - BUSINESS - By Stan Choe

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.

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