Stocks, dollar sink after weak jobs report suggests slowdown

NEW YORK (AP) — A weak report on the U.S. jobs market knocked the stock market lower early Friday. U.S. employers cut back sharply on hiring in September and added fewer jobs in July and August than previously thought.

The news shot government bond prices up and drove the dollar down against other major currencies. Banks fell more than the rest of the market as investors expected low interest rates to continue to pinch their profits.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index was down 12 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,911, as of 11:16 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 102 points, or 0.6 percent, to 16,168, while the Nasdaq composite declined 19 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,607.

WAY OFF: The government reported that employers added 142,000 workers last month, much lower than the 200,000 anticipated on Wall Street. The unemployment rate stayed at 5.1 percent, but only because many Americans have stopped looking for work and are no longer counted as unemployed. The report raised doubts that the Federal Reserve will start raising interest rates before the end of the year.

NO SPIN: “There’s just no positive spin you can put on it,” said Russ Koesterich, BlackRock’s global chief investment strategist. “Combined with other reports, it really raises questions about the strength of the recovery.”

DELAYED AGAIN: “We see almost no way the Fed can raise rates at its October meeting,” said Dan Greenhaus, chief strategist at the brokerage BTIG in New York, in a note to clients. “As a result of this report, investors should rightly be debating whether the Fed can or should raise rates at its December meeting.”

BATTERED BANKS: Financial stocks in the S&P 500 sank 2.3 percent, by far the biggest loss among the 10 sectors in the index. Low interest rates reduce the profits banks can make from lending money. JPMorgan Chase fell $1.77, or 2.9 percent, to $59.25 and Goldman Sachs fell $4.28, or 2.4 percent, to $171.85.

NORDY NEWS: Nordstrom’s shares climbed, bucking the overall downward trend in the market, after announcing that it will pay a special dividend and spend up to $1 billion buying its own shares. The department-store chain gained $1.16, or 2 percent, to $72.59.

HACKED: T-Mobile sank on news that hackers had broken into a credit agency’s network and stolen information on 15 million T-Mobile customers. The company’s stock dropped $1.54, or 4 percent, to $38.52.

OTHER SIDE OF ATLANTIC: In Europe, major indexes were slightly higher. Germany’s DAX was up 0.5 percent, France’s CAC-40 was up 0.9 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 added 1 percent.

CRUDE: Benchmark U.S. crude oil dropped 64 cents to $44.10 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent Crude, a benchmark for international oils, fell 57 cents to $47.81 a barrel in London.

BONDS AND DOLLARS: U.S. government bond prices jumped, driving the yield on the 10-year down to 1.92 percent, its lowest level since April, and a big drop from 2.04 percent late Thursday. The euro rose 1 percent to $1.1310 and the dollar fell 0.9 percent to 118.78 yen.

ASIA’S SCORECARD: Markets in the region drifted, with Japan’s Nikkei 225 rising less than 0.1 percent. South Korea’s Kospi slipped 0.5 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rebounded after a holiday, jumping 3.2 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 lost 1.2 percent to 5,052.00. Markets on mainland China remain closed for holidays until Oct. 8.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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