Stocks were mixed in Friday afternoon trade as investors struggle to pick a clean narrative out of Friday’s stronger-than-expected July jobs report.
Near 2:30 p.m. ET, the tech-heavy Nasdaq was the day’s laggard, falling 0.8%, with the S&P 500 off 0.4%, and the Dow higher by less than 0.1%.
In July, the U.S. economy added 528,000 jobs as the unemployment rate fell to 3.5%. Economists expected job growth would total just 250,000 last month.
The stock market’s initial reaction — which saw stocks trade uniformly lower — to this data suggested traders see this report keeping the Federal Reserve on track to continue with aggressive rate hikes, likely increasing rates by 0.75% in September after raises of this magnitude in June and July.
Since mid-June, stocks have gained as investors grew optimistic a potential “pivot,” or a slowdown in the pace of rate hikes from the Fed, could be coming in the months ahead.
In the bond market, the story that July’s jobs data will result in further rate hikes has been a bit plainer to see, with the U.S. 10-year note yield sitting near 2.84% on Friday, up about 30 basis points from low earlier this week.
The yield curve also continues to move into a deeper inversion, with the spread between 2-year and 10-year yields reaching as wide as 41 basis points, or 0.38%, on Friday morning, the largest since 2000.
This push higher in yields has also resulted in a rally in the dollar.
Investors are also watching developments in commodities markets, with WTI crude oil prices — the U.S. benchmark — falling below $89 a barrel on Thursday to their lowest levels since early February.
The price of gas in the U.S. has now declined for 50 straight days.
On the individual stock side, Friday action showed outsized volatility continues in a number of stocks, with shares of Bed, Bath & Beyond gaining more than 27% on no news.
Meanwhile, meme darling AMC rose 14% after announcing its most recent quarterly results and announcing plans to issue a preferred share dividend that will trade under the ticker “APE.”
Shares of iRobot were up more than 19% after Amazon announced plans to buy the Roomba maker for $1.7 billion.
This post will be updated.