The week on Wall St.
The overhang of Fed Chair Powell’s Jackson Hole speech the previous week carried over into last week as investors recalibrated stock valuations amid a seemingly more assertive monetary policy stance.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 2.99%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 stumbled 3.29%. The Nasdaq Composite index lost 4.21%. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, slid 4.90%. 1,2,3
Stocks Extend Losses
Investors remained unnerved by the aggressive tone of Jerome Powell’s speech and subsequent comments from Fed officials suggesting a higher rate hike than the market expected at the Fed two-day meeting ending September 21. The probability of a 75 basis point hike in September rose to nearly 65%, up from just 28% a month ago.4
Stocks moved steadily lower before finding some footing on Thursday. Friday’s employment report appeared to strike a “goldilocks” note (i.e., labor gains not so strong that it might trigger greater Fed hawkishness but robust enough to allay imminent recession fears). After early gains, stocks turned lower ahead of the holiday weekend.
Employers added 315,000 jobs in August, maintaining the labor market’s remarkable resiliency amid a contracting economy. The unemployment rate rose to 3.7%, up from last month’s 3.5%. The gain followed an uptick in the labor participation rate, which expanded from 62.1% to 62.4%. Wages continued to grow, rising 0.3% in August and 5.2% from 12 months ago.5
Sectors seeing the most significant increases in new jobs were professional and business services, healthcare, and retail. Lagging sectors were manufacturing, financial, and wholesale trade.6
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