Here’s where US indexes stood at 4:00 p.m. ET on Friday:
Stocks wavered between gains and losses throughout the first week of 2022 as investors analyzed various signals from the Fed. Selling pressure in US equities began on Wednesday when minutes from the December meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee showed policymakers are looking at possible tightening monetary policy faster than anticipated.
On top of that, hiring faltered again in December 2021 as the Omicron variant fueled another wave of coronavirus cases and economic restrictions. The report was the worst since December 2020.
The US added 199,000 nonfarm payrolls last month, far lower than the 450,000 median forecast estimated by economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The print revealed that hiring slowed in the final weeks of 2021 as coronavirus case counts surged.
November job growth was revised to 249,000 jobs from 210,000, according to the report.
“A big deceleration in hiring will do little to change the Fed’s hawkish course,” Edward Moya, senior equity analyst at Oanda, said in a note Friday. “Today’s nonfarm payroll report required a good look at all the numbers and not just the headline miss. Wall Street is focusing on the robust prints with wages and the unemployment rate.”
The weak jobs report did have a silver lining: wages for US workers rose yet again in December 2021, marking 2021 as a year of blockbuster wage growth.
“The labor shortage problem is forcing employers to raise wages and with the unemployment rate improving to the best level since February 2020, the Fed can say the US is at maximum employment,” Moya said.
Inflation remains the main concern for the central bank, Chris Zaccarelli, CIO at Independent Advisor Alliance, said in a note Friday.
“The report today is unlikely to do anything to change the Fed’s mind in terms of an accelerated rate hike and balance sheet management approach,” he said.
The 10-year Treasury note yield rose to 1.769% from Wednesday’s 1.732% rate. Bond yields move inversely to prices.
GameStop soared as much as 22% after a report said the games retailer plans to create a marketplace for non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, and is close to sealing cryptocurrency partnerships.
In cryptocurrencies, bitcoin fell for a sixth straight day to trade below $42,000 and hovered at a three-month low. A bear market in bitcoin, ether, and other altcoins has driven down the total market capitalization of cryptos to less than $2 trillion.
Lumber prices rose for the fourth session Friday and are scaling above seven-month highs. The commodity traded at $1,234 per thousand board feet at one point Friday, the highest level since June 2021.
Oil prices edged lower. West Texas Intermediate crude slipped 0.73%, at $78.89 per barrel. Brent crude, oil’s international benchmark, lost 0.28%, rising to $81.76.