Stocks end mixed as Delta variant hampers hiring

A huge miss on the latest jobs report had investors trying to figure out what the Federal Reserve's next move will be.

That uncertainty kept investors from making any big moves Friday.

The Dow lost 74 points. The S&P 500 shed a point, but the Nasdaq rose 32 points for another record closing high.

Hiring in the U.S. slowed dramatically in August, coming in at just 235,000, that was the weakest reading in seven months and a huge drop from the upwardly revised 1.05 million jobs created the month before. The big slowdown was largely tied to the health crisis with jobs disappearing at bars and restaurants, as well as retail. But in two bright spots: the unemployment rate fell to a 17-month low of 5.2 percent and wages rose 0.6 percent.

Uma Pattarkine of CenterSquare Investment Management's thinks the jobs slowdown does have implications for Fed policy.

"So this kind of gives them a little bit more in their arsenal to say: 'hey, you know, we're waiting for this to recover fully before we think about tapering and increasing interest rates.' And so what that really means, I think, from the investor perspective, is that we are probably going to be in this lower rate environment for a little bit longer."

On the corporate front:

Didi Global was on the move after a media report that Beijing is considering steps that would give state entities control of the Chinese ride-hailing app. U.S. listed shares of Didi rose more than 2 percent.

Shares of Virgin Galactic were down 6-1/2 percent. The Federal Aviation Administration has barred Virgin from flying its SpaceShipTwo into space again until a probe is completed into why the rocket carrying British billionaire Richard Branson in July deviated from the flight plan.

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