The publication of employment data for the month of May has had a direct impact on this Friday’s session on Wall Street, with a sharp drop in the Nasdaq technology index and more moderate falls in the other two benchmark indices, the industrial Dow Jones and the S&P 500, which brings together the 500 largest companies in the US.
The S&P 500 was down about a point and a half in midday trading, while the Nasdaq Tech Composite was more than 2% down. The Dow Jones’s decline, more modest, did not reach the point. All major sectors have fallen except energy, which has benefited from higher oil prices, a key factor driving up costs for other industries. The OPEC Plus agreement to put more barrels on the market and the upcoming visit of President Joe Biden to Saudi Arabia to restore relations and help Riyadh help have barely given the market a break, at least not immediately.
This Friday’s fall has placed the S&P 500 heading down at the end of the week, on the same path that has dominated most of the year. If this trend continues, the index will have performed in the red in eight of the last nine weeks. The day before, Wall Street had ended in the green, with a rise of 1.33% in the Dow Jones, 1.84% in the S&P 500 and 2.69% in the technological Nasdaq.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury bond, a key benchmark for the cost of borrowing, jumped to 2.96% on Friday, its highest level in three weeks, after the employment data was released. The dollar was also up, rising 0.3% against benchmark currencies.
The solidity of the labor market in May, with an unemployment rate of 3.6% -very close to the minimum in decades-, has discouraged investors, considering that these data may push the Federal Reserve to continue increasing interest rates. interest aggressively to control inflation, clouding forecasts for economic growth. For the first time since 2020, the Fed has raised the price of money twice so far this year, which is now in a range between 0.75% and 1%. The US economy has chained 17 consecutive months of job creation. The Fed has two tasks: to promote full employment with its policies and to tame inflation, at record highs since 1980 and a real headache for Biden.
He knows in depth all the sides of the coin.