A week filled with big Wall Street swings ended with a whimper Friday after another underwhelming monthly jobs report left investors scratching their heads.
The Dow and the S&P 500 slipped 8 points each. The Nadsaq gave up 74.
194,000. That’s how many jobs the U.S. created in September. That number was the weakest in nine months, and way less than the 500,000 figure Wall Street was expecting. The data suggest changes in the education sector are impacting hiring numbers, and many Americans still seem afraid to return to the workforce during the health crisis. That really showed up in the unemployment rate which tumbled to an 18-month low of 4.8 percent as more people gave up looking for work.
Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities is surprised at the stock market’s muted response.
"We also saw hourly wages go up a little bit more than we expected, and that's contributing to future wage inflation. And, you know, the 10-year (note) traded above 1.60 (percent). And so the market is really holding on to itself. I suspect that, you know, investors are looking forward to the earnings season, which begins next week."
In other market news: crude oil prices touched $80 a barrel in U.S. trading on Friday – that’s a 7-year high. Prices are up around the world due to a lack of supplies heading into the colder months for the northern hemisphere. Oil prices were up more than 4 percent for the week.
That oil spike gave energy stocks a boost. ExxonMobil shares rallied 2-1/2 percent. Chevron gained 2-1/4 percent.
Sticking with stock movers: Media conglomerate Comcast was cast in a negative light amid fears all cable companies are facing increased competition from broadband. Shares of Comcast slumped 4.7 percent Charter Communications was down almost 5 percent.