Stock Rally Loses Steam After U.S. Reports Hiring Slowdown

NEW YORK (AP) -
stocks
Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Friday. (Reuters/Brendan McDermid)

Stocks wobbled in midday trading on Wall Street Friday after losing their momentum from the previous day’s record-setting rally as investors digested a weak jobs report.

The Dow Jones Industrial average briefly traded over 29,000 points for the first time before pulling back.

The government reported that U.S. employers added 145,000 jobs in December, short of economists’ forecasts. A solid jobs market has been a key force behind recent economic growth.

Most major indexes are still above the record highs set on Thursday. Investors were encourged by a cooling in the Iran-U.S. conflict and because a “Phase 1” trade deal with China is expected to be signed next week.

Technology stocks led the gains. Nvidia rose 1.3% and Qualcomm climbed 1.7%. Companies in the sector have been behind much of the broader gains this week as Wall Street grows more optimistic about trade. Chipmakers and other companies rely heavily on China for sales and supply chains.

Health-care companies were also making solid gains. Intuitive Surgical rose 3.3% on a solid revenue update.

Banks and other financial companies broadly fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.81% from 1.85% late Thursday.

Industrial companies also slid. Boeing and United Technologies were among the largest decliners.

KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index was unchanged as of noon Eastern time. The Dow fell 86 points, or 0.3%, to 28,869. The Nasdaq rose 0.1%. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks fell 0.4%. Markets in Asia climbed and European markets were mixed.

WRONG ORDER: Grubhub plunged 7.7 % after the denying reports that it was looking for a buyer. It’s the second-largest player in the increasingly competitive food-delivery business behind DoorDash.

MAX WOES: Boeing fell 1.5% after internal messages showed employees at the aircraft maker ridiculed those responsible for designing and overseeing the plane and apparently tried to hide problems from regulators. The plane has been grounded since March after two crashes killed 346 people.

FREE FALL: Six Flags Entertainment plunged 19.3% after the theme-park operator warned investors that it may have to cancel development plans in China. It also said poor attendance in the U.S. will hurt revenue in the fourth quarter. Its partner in China has defaulted on payments, leaving the fate of six projects there in doubt. Weak season pass and membership sales in the U.S. could shave up to $10 million off revenue.

EARNINGS AHEAD: Investors will have a chance to refocus on corporate earnings next week when several large banks and airlines report their financial results. JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Citigroup will all report earnings on Tuesday, along with Delta Air Lines.

Bank of America and Goldman Sachs will report results on Wednesday, along with insurer UnitedHealth Group. Railroad operator CSX will report results on Thursday.