Payrolls not seen changing the outlook for Fed action
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U.S. stocks were mostly hugging the flatline Friday, trying to hand the Dow its ninth straight daily gain, as a largely bullish read on the labor market wasn't enough to solidly push shares higher.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average most recently was up 31 points, or 0.1%, to 22,053, briefly hitting an intraday record of 22,089.05 in early trading. The blue-chip average is in position to set its eighth straight record close and advance for a ninth consecutive session, its longest such streak since February. The Dow has notched 33 record closes in 2017.
See: Howard Gold's 3 reasons a stock-market correction is coming (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/3-reasons-a-stock-market-correction-is-coming-in-late-summer-or-early-fall-2017-08-03)
The S&P 500 rose about 2 points, or 0.1%, to 2,475, while the Nasdaq Composite Index was up less than 1 point to 6,342. All three indexes dipped into slightly negative territory within the first hour of trading.
The U.S. created 209,000 new jobs in July (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-adds-209000-jobs-in-july-unemployment-43-2017-08-04), easily beating Wall Street forecasts for 175,000 jobs to have been added. Separately, the unemployment rate moved to 4.3% from 4.4%, retouching a 16-year low.
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The report is seen as crucial for the Federal Reserve as it decides whether to raise interest rates one more time this year or to keep them on hold. After a string of lackluster economic readings recently, investors are starting to doubt further monetary tightening is on the cards in the short term, especially absent signs of rising inflation. Those doubts have helped send the dollar sharply lower.
"The number came in above consensus, but in the ballpark we were expecting, so we're taking it in stride," said Jeff Zipper, managing director of investments at U.S. Bank Private Client Wealth Management. "There were no big surprises, and net-net, I think the Federal Reserve remains on track for one more interest rate hike this year after this."
For the week, the Dow was set for a gain of 1%, its second straight weekly rise, as well as its fourth positive week of the past five. The S&P is up 0.1% on the week, while the Nasdaq is down 0.5%. The S&P is less than half a percentage point away from its own record, while the Nasdaq is less than 2 percentage points below its own.
"There are some concerns that we're fully valued, but we're of the thesis that markets will continue to grind higher until the end of the year," Zipper said. "Corporate earnings show that both the top line and the bottom line are coming in nicely, which justifies where we're trading."
Read:Let this be your final warning on U.S. stocks' overvaluation (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/let-this-be-your-final-warning-on-us-stocks-overvaluation-2017-08-04)
Stock movers: Shares of GoPro Inc.(GPRO) jumped 15% after the wearable video-camera maker's quarterly results and outlook out late Thursday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/gopro-shares-jump-more-than-10-after-results-outlook-beat-street-estimates-2017-08-03) beat Wall Street estimates.
Weight Watchers International Inc.(WTW) also beat forecasts (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/weight-watchers-stock-rockets-toward-5-year-high-after-profit-and-sales-beat-raised-outlook-2017-08-03) with its late Thursday earnings, sending shares 27% higher.
In earnings on Friday, Cigna Corp.'s(CI) profit came in well ahead of forecasts, and the health care insurance company raised its 2017 outlook. Shares slipped by 0.7%.
Viacom Inc.(VIA) tumbled 13% a day after it reported its third-quarter results (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/viacom-reports-strong-q3-results-as-company-continues-revitalizing-its-business-2017-08-03).
Yelp Inc. (YELP) soared 28% after it agreed to sell its Eat24 food-delivery business to Grubhub Inc. (GRUB), shares of which climbed 6.2%.
U.S.-listed shares of Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC(RBS.LN) gained 1.8% after the U.K. bank posted its first half-year profit in three years (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/rbs-swings-to-profit-as-one-off-effect-fades-2017-08-04).
Other markets: Asian stock markets closed mixed (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/asian-markets-mixed-as-investors-await-us-job-report-2017-08-03). European investors were also staying on the sidelines (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-hold-steady-with-us-jobs-update-in-focus-2017-08-04), with all major indexes making moves of less than 0.1%.
Oil prices slumped ahead of the weekly Baker Hughes (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/crude-oil-loses-grip-of-49-a-barrel-ahead-of-us-rig-data-2017-08-04) rig-count report. Metals, including gold , were higher across the board.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
August 04, 2017 10:50 ET (14:50 GMT)