(Businesshala) – The S&P 500 ended slightly lower on Friday, as data showed weaker-than-expected job growth in September, yet investors still expected the Federal Reserve to start buying assets this year.
Comcast Corp. fell after Wells Fargo cut its price target on the media company, while Charter Communications Inc. fell when Wells Fargo changed that cable operator from “overweight” to “underweight.”
Both companies were one of the biggest drags on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq.
Real estate and utilities were the worst performers among the 11 S&P 500 sector indexes.
The S&P 500 energy sector index jumped more than 4% in the week as the global energy crisis pushed prices up to their highest since 2014.
Chevron and Exxon Mobil rallied and were among the companies giving the S&P 500 the biggest lift.
The U.S. economy created the fewest jobs in nine months in September as the Labor Department’s non-farm payrolls report showed that schools were hiring and some businesses lacked workers. The unemployment rate fell from 5.2% to 4.8% in August and average hourly earnings rose 0.6%, higher than expected.
“I think the Federal Reserve has made it very clear that they don’t need the Blockbuster Jobs report in November,” said Kathy Lien, managing director of BK Asset Management in New York. “I think the Fed is on track.”
Futures on the federal funds rate are expected to be subject to a quarter-point tightening by the Federal Reserve by November or December of next year.
According to preliminary data, the S&P 500 was down 7.96 points, or 0.18%, at 4,390.70, while the Nasdaq Composite was down 76.24 points, or 0.52%, at 14,577.59. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 13.66 points, or 0.04%, to end at 34,741.28.
The third-quarter reporting season begins next week, with JPMorgan Chase and other big banks being the first to post results. Investors are focusing on global supply chain problems and labor shortages.
According to Refinitiv, analysts expect S&P 500 earnings per share to be about 30% for the quarter.
“I think it’s going to be a dice-earning season,” warned Liz Young, head of investment strategy at SoFi in New York. “If supply-chain issues are driving up costs, a company with strong pricing power can pass through those rising costs. But if you can’t find employees to hire you can’t pass through a labor shortage. “