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Wall Street opens weaker after disappointment in labour market numbers; Dow Jones loses 120 pts after release of numbers.

Elan Posh 0

U.S. stock markets opened slightly weaker Friday, reacting to a highly disappointing August jobs report that showed the slowest pace of job growth in six months.

According to Labor Department, non-farm payrolls rose by only 235,000 by mid-month, missing consensus forecasts by more than half a million. The upward revision of 100,000 jobs added to the July data was cold comfort.

At 9:40 AM ET (1340 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 123 points, or 0.3%, at 35,323. The S&P 500 was up 0.2% and the Nasdaq Composite was down 0.1%. However, the latter two indexes are still on track for another weekly gain.

The market appeared rattled by the report’s hints of stagflation as the spread of Covid-19 slows growth while wages continue to grow above expectations. Growth in average hourly wages accelerated to 0.6% from 0.4% in July. Analysts had expected earnings to rise moderately to 0.3%. However, this development appears to be mainly due to the absence of low-paying service sector jobs in the leisure and hospitality sector, which drove up average earnings.

While the Covid 19 infection curve began to flatten in recent days, the average number of deaths in the last seven days reached its highest level since March. As a result, hiring in the leisure and hospitality sector stalled in August, while retail trade shed a net 28,000 jobs, reversing some of the gains since the economy rebounded in the spring.

Among individual stocks, shares of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) slipped 0.1% after the company announced it would delay the rollout of new features in its iOS operating system designed to help root out child sexual abuse material. The new tools had been criticized by privacy groups and others.

Virgin Galactic (NYSE:SPCE) shares fell 4.7% after Federal Aviation Administration grounded flights to investigate alleged breaches of safety protocols during its first commercial flight of the summer.

Didi Global (NYSE:DIDI) ADRs rose more than 8% after Bloomberg reported that the city of Beijing is considering placing the company under government control, which may affect the number of ride-hailing shares, but will most likely affect the company’s governance. The move reflected expectations that the government would at least partially compensate shareholders who have lost money since the company went public in July. The stock is still more than 30% below its IPO price.

Also advancing were shares of Broadcom (NASDAQ:AVGO), which rose 1.6% after the chipmaker said it did not expect the pandemic trends that have accelerated demand for its semiconductors to subside anytime soon. DocuSign (NASDAQ:DOCU) shares, which have been supported by some of the same trends in recent months, also rose 6.1% after the company also reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings.

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