STORY: Major U.S. stock indexes fell in choppy trading on Friday after a surprisingly strong jobs report sparked concerns about more aggressive rate hikes from the Federal Reserve.
The Dow shed roughly four-tenths of a percent, the S&P fell a full percent, and the Nasdaq dropped 1.6%.
U.S. job growth soared in January, with nonfarm payrolls surging by 517,000 jobs - well above an estimate of 185,000 - and the unemployment rate fell to a 53-1/2-year low.
The data comes after Fed Chair Jerome Powell said earlier in the week that there'd be two more quarter-point rate hikes – sending stocks higher.
But Michael Jones, Chairman and CEO of Caravel Concepts, says the market was wrong to interpret Powell’s remarks as dovish.
“Investors, instead of saying, “Hey, we’re gonna get a minimum of two more increases,’ said, ‘Hey, only two more increases and the Fed’s gonna take a breather.’ That’s not exactly what he said. And also, he really emphasized that the main thing the Fed’s looking at as they make these tightening decisions is the job market – and how they feel it’s unbalanced, that unemployment is too low, that jobless claims are too low and that job openings are too high. And because of all that, today’s number is going to really equip the hawks to drive rates higher towards 6%.”
Investors on Friday also digested another heavy batch of corporate results.
Shares of Apple, the largest U.S. company by market value, rose 2.4%. The company forecast that revenue would fall for a second quarter in a row but that iPhone sales were likely to improve as production had returned to normal in China.
Shares of Amazon slumped 8.4% after the company said operating profit could fall to zero in the current quarter as savings from layoffs won't make up for the financial impact of consumers and cloud customers clamping down on spending.
And shares of Google parent Alphabet dropped 2.7% after it posted fourth-quarter profit and sales short of Wall Street expectations.