Friday, September 06 15:36:32
U.S. stocks fell today as the August payroll report came in weaker than expected and as the prospect of a possible Western-led strike against Syria continued to weigh on sentiment.
Equities had opened higher but turned negative in early trading, though they remained on track for weekly gains.
About 169,000 jobs were added in August, fewer than the 180,000 that had been expected, while the previous month's payroll report was revised sharply lower. The unemployment rate dipped to 7.3 percent from 7.4 percent a month earlier.
While the report was bearish, many analysts said it wasn't so weak that the U.S. central bank would adjust plans to slow its stimulus. The Fed has said it would begin easing if economic growth meets its targets. Many market participants expect the scaling back to begin in September.
"The report was lackluster and underwhelming, and the dramatic revision downward last month speaks to how flawed the labor recovery is," said Kristina Hooper, head of portfolio strategies at Allianz Global Investors in New York. "However, this isn't a showstopper. Our views about tapering beginning in September haven't changed."
Before the report came out, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said the Fed could begin to wind the stimulus down later this year, though he didn't specify a month.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down 113.31 points, or 0.76 percent, at 14,824.17. The Standard and Poor's 500 Index was down 8.56 points, or 0.52 percent, at 1,646.52. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 26.34 points, or 0.72 percent, at 3,632.44.