The Dow Is Slipping After Jobs Report Disappoints—and What Else Is Happening in the Stock Market Today

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It has been a volatile week for stocks as investors fretted over familiar macro themes.

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The stock market was slipping on Friday after the September jobs report missed estimates.

Shortly after the open, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 91 points, or 0.3%, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite were down 0.1%. The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield was up slightly, at 1.59%.

The U.S. added 194,000 jobs in September, missing forecasts for 500,000 and below August’s revised reading of 366,000. The unemployment rate, however, fell to 4.8%.

Investors had wanted to see that, as pandemic-related benefits end, people are getting back to work at a fast clip. That didn’t happen, which weighed on the more economically sensitive Dow, but helped the Nasdaq, which is home to big tech stocks that don’t need a strong economy to grow.

The weak jobs report potentially means that the Federal Reserve may reduce its bond buying at a slower pace. That would mean more money than expected moving into bonds, lifting their prices and bringing their yields down. Investors had been expecting the Fed to lower monthly bond purchases by $15 billion, but that number could be lower now.

Lower bond yields give a boost to tech stocks in particular. Lower yields make future profits more valuable—and many fast-growing tech companies are expecting large profits many years down the line.

A fairly low jobs number “should result in a relief rally [for stocks], as it should take some upward pressure off yields,” wrote Tom Essaye, founder of Sevens Report Research before the jobs number was released. 

After a rocky week of trading, where investors fretted about familiar fears such as inflation and supply-chain pressures, stocks rallied Thursday as Congress reached an agreement on the debt ceiling and an apparent gas crisis in Europe was averted. The S&P 500 closed Thursday just 3% below its all-time high reached in September.

Overseas, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 rose 1.3%, as investors reacted positively to the new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s orders for his cabinet to compile economic stimulus measures for an extra budget to be submitted after an election at the end of the month.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 was little changed.

Elsewhere, oil prices rose to reclaim elevated levels reached earlier in the week, with continuous contract futures for crude up around 0.7%. 

International benchmark Brent was trading hands over $82 a barrel, near its highest point in three years.

Here are nine stocks on the move Friday:

Alibaba ‘s (9988.H.K.) Hong Kong-listed shares rose 5.6%, following Alibaba ‘s (BABA) U.S.-listed shares higher after they surged 8.3% Thursday in the largest daily percent increase since April 2021. The U.S.-listed stock was up a further 2.7%.

Quidel Corp . (QDEL) stock rose 7.5% after the company said third-quarter sales would be between $505 million and $510 million, ahead of analyst estimates of $251 million, according to FactSet. The company said it has shipped more than twice the number of SARS tests year-over-year. 

Plug Power (PLUG) stock gained 3.3% after getting upgraded to Equal Weight from Underweight at Barclays. 

Union Pacific (UNP) stock rose 1.6% after getting upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan. 

J.B. Hunt Transport Services (JBHT) stock fell 0.8% after getting downgraded to Underweight from Neutral at JPMorgan. 

Lowe’s Cos. (LOW) and Home Depot (HD) fell 0.4% and 0.9%, respectively, after getting downgraded to Hold from Buy at Loop Capital.

Higher crude prices provided a boost for major oil companies, with BP (BP) rising 0.9% and Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) lifting 0.5% in London.

Write to Jacob Sonenshine at jacob.sonenshine@barrons.com