Stock market today: Asian markets mixed following hotter-than-expected US jobs report

Jun 10, 2024

HONG KONG (AP) — Asian markets were mixed on Monday after a jobs report released Friday came in hotter than expected, while the euro fell after French President Emmanuel Macron dissolved the National Assembly following a setback in Sunday’s parliamentary election.

U.S. futures and oil prices rose.

Trading in Asia was muted with markets in China, Hong Kong, Australia and Taiwan closed for holidays.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index was up 0.5% at 38,872.19 after government data on Monday showed Japan’s economy contracted at an annualized 1.8% pace in January-March compared to the previous quarter, an upward revision from the previously announced 2% drop.

South Korea’s Kospi slipped 0.7% to 2,705.06.

Meanwhile, in Europe, far-right parties made major gains in parliamentary elections Sunday, leading French President Emmanuel Macron to announce that he was dissolving the National Assembly and calling a snap legislative election. This caused the euro to drop to its lowest price in nearly a month. On Monday dealing, the euro was trading at $1.0766, down from $1.0778.

On Friday, the S&P 500 fell 0.1% to 5,346.99, the Nasdaq composite slipped 0.2% to 38,798.99, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.2% to 38,798.99.

U.S. employers added 272,000 jobs in May, up from April and more than economists expected. The report also showed the unemployment rate rising for a second straight month. Overall, it signals continued strength in the jobs market, with some minor signs of weakening. The strong jobs market has supported consumer spending and the broader economy, but it has also been complicating the Federal Reserve’s path ahead for interest rates.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury jumped to 4.43% from 4.29% just before the jobs report was released. The two-year yield, which more closely tracks expectations for the Fed, jumped to 4.89% from 4.74% prior to the report’s release.

Wall Street is hoping for at least one cut to the Fed’s benchmark interest rate before the year ends. The central bank raised its interest rate to its highest level in more than two decades in an attempt to cool inflation to its target of 2%. However, inflation has been stubbornly hovering around 3% after dropping sharply over the last two years. A strong economy could keep fueling price increases.

A cooler economy can pull inflation lower and prompt the Fed to deliver the cuts to interest rates that traders desire. The danger is if the slowdown overshoots and turns into a recession, which would ultimately hurt stock prices.

Economic data from last week hinted that the economy could be cooling. The latest reports show that manufacturing contracted in May, worker productivity isn’t as strong as economists thought and job openings are dropping.

Fed officials are expected to hold interest rates steady at their meeting later in this week. After the jobs report came out, investors took even more bets off the table that the Fed would cut rates at its July meeting, according to data from CME Group.

Wall Street has also been monitoring earnings from retailers, which have shown that customers have been pulling back on items that aren’t essentials. Consumer spending has been the main support for the economy, but stubborn inflation is hurting consumers, especially those with lower incomes.

GameStop, the troubled video game retailer at the center of the meme stock craze, slumped 39.4% after reporting another quarterly loss and saying it planned to sell up to 75 million more shares.

In other dealings, U.S. benchmark crude oil gained 23 cents to $75.76 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Brent crude, the international standard, was up 28 cents to $79.90 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar rose to 157.12 Japanese yen from 156.83 yen.

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