Dow Lower, S&P 500 Pares Gains Amid Grim Jobs Data

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Stocks were mixed Friday following a weaker-than-expected jobs report that pointed to a stalling U.S. recovery.

© TheStreet Dow Lower, S&P 500 Pares Gains Amid Grim Jobs Data

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 67 points, or 0.22%, to 30,973, the S&P 500 rose 0.08% and the Nasdaq was up 0.36%. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq set record intraday highs during Friday’s session.

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The U.S. lost 140,000 jobs in December, the first drop in employment since April, as Covid-19 cases surged and tighter restrictions were placed on people and businesses.

Wall Street preferred on Friday to look past the political unrest in Washington and a global acceleration of the coronavirus and instead focused on expectations that Biden and a Democratic-controlled Congress will increase spending on infrastructure and take other measures to juice the economy.

Biden has vowed that $2,000 stimulus checks would be delivered to Americans if the Democrats won the Senate runoff elections in Georgia, which they did earlier this week.

Donald Trump, meanwhile, acknowledged the incoming administration of Biden for the first time and condemned the violence in Wednesday’s storming of the Capitol building.

As for the labor market, hiring slowed in December amid another surge in coronavirus infections. Economists surveyed by FactSet had expected the U.S. to add 100,000 jobs in December though many experts had predicted a contraction.

The unemployment rate in December held steady at 6.7%.

“The report confirms the need for more relief and recovery assistance, and the need for another round of relief and recovery legislation,” said Rutgers University economist William M. Rodgers.

“Why more assistance? Several headwinds exist that are eroding confidence: threats to a safe and calm presidential transition and the spiking of the virus causing governments to place restrictions on commerce,” Rodgers added.

Stocks closed at record highs on Thursday. The Dow finished up 211 points, or 0.69%, to 31,041, the S&P 500 gained 1.48% to 3,803 and the Nasdaq jumped 2.56% to 13,067.

The Dow finished over 31,000 for the first time, while the Nasdaq crossed 13,000 for the first time.

Boeing shares were lower Friday after the jetmaker agreed to pay a $2.5 billion fine over fraud and conspiracy charges linked to its 737 MAX jet program.

A new study suggested the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech could offer protection against mutations found in new, fast-spreading variants of the coronavirus that were discovered in the U.K. and South Africa.

The research, conducted by researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch and supported by Pfizer and BioNTech, found that antibodies from vaccine recipients successfully fended off the virus in lab dishes. The study hasn’t yet been reviewed by experts.

Deaths in the U.S. from the coronavirus were at 365,359, according to Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. on Thursday reported a daily record of more than 4,000 deaths.

This article was originally published by TheStreet.

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