US stock market shudders in wake of lackluster jobs report

Employers added 142,000 jobs in September, which was drastically lower than the 203,000 economists expected.

Richard Drew/AP
Trader Daniel Kryger works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Friday. A weak report on the US jobs market is sending the stock market and the dollar sharply lower in early trading.

The US stock market flexed its volatile tendencies Friday morning. This time fluctuations come courtesy of a US jobs market report. 

The US jobs market report showed that employers cut back on hiring in September and revised reports that fewer jobs were added in July and August than previously reported. The less-than-expected news is casting doubts over a federal interest rate hike in December.

Employers added 142,000 jobs in September, which was drastically lower than the 203,000 economists expected, according to polls conducted by Reuters. The jobless rate was consistent, but average hourly wages fell to $25.09, down a cent.

“It’s an absolutely weak report all around,” Tom Porcelli, chief US economist at RBC Capital Markets, told Reuters. 

In response, at 10 a.m. Eastern time, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index was at 1,899, down 24 points; the Dow Jones industrial average dropped to 16,054, down 218 points; and the Nasdaq composite drooped to 4,566, down 61 points. 

"As a result of this report, investors should rightly be debating whether the Fed can or should raise rates at its December meeting,” Dan Greenhaus, chief strategist at the brokerage BTIG, said in a note to clients.

The economic droop is following a global trend of fluctuating markets and still-recovering economies. 

Across the Atlantic, in Europe, markets also slipped. France’s CAC-40, Germany’s DAX, and Britain’s FTSE all declined. The Asian markets were mixed, with Japan’s Nikkei rising less than .1 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng jumping 3.2 percent after a holiday.

Markets on mainland China, which have been fluctuating the past few months, are still closed for holidays. They will reopen on Oct. 8.

The Federal Reserve’s recent decision to keep interest rates unchanged has added to the uncertainty as markets worry about the global market. A small hike could help clam the market. It would also give the Fed more options to deal with any future economic obstacles.

Federal Reserve Vice Chair Stanley Fischer has a scheduled appearance in Boston at 1:30 pm, where he could speak about potential hikes and fluctuations.

This report includes material from the Associated Press and Reuters.

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