US stocks dip as December hiring report fails to inspire
U.S. stocks are dipping Friday morning after a solid but unspectacular hiring report for December. While employers kept hiring and hourly pay jumped, it wasn't enough to allay investors' concerns about slow economic growth. Bond yields are climbing as investors think the report shows interest rates will keep going up.
KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average lost 44 points, or 0.2 percent, to 19,855 as of 9:47 a.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gave up 2 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,266. The Nasdaq composite, which closed at an all-time high Thursday, rose 8 points, or 0.2 percent, to 5,496. The small-cap Russell 2000 index dipped 1 point, or 0.1 percent, to 1,370.
The Dow has lagged the other major indexes this week, held back by weakness in the insurance company Travelers, industrial coating and Post-it note maker 3M, and McDonald's.
US JOBS: The Labor Department said U.S. employers added 156,000 jobs in December. Hourly pay jumped 2.9 percent over the same month a year earlier, the biggest increase in seven years. Overall, job growth remained steady in 2016 but slowed from 2015.
DAY IN COURT: Amgen climbed and Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals fell after a court moved to block sales of Sanofi and Regeneron's cholesterol drug Praluent. A federal jury ruled in March that Praluent infringes on two patents that belong to Amgen. Both are costly biotech drugs designed to be injected once or twice a month. Sanofi and Regeneron said they will appeal the ruling, which came from U.S. District Court in Delaware.
Amgen stock gained $6.45, or 4.2 percent, to $159.43 while Regeneron slid $23.96, or 6.3 percent, to $356.93 and Sanofi lost $1.26, or 3 percent, to $40.24.
INTO THE GAP: Gap climbed after reporting that its sales improved over the holidays. The company said sales at older Gap and Old Navy stores both improved in December and said its annual profit should be a bit higher than it expected. The stock rose 73 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $23.98.
Gap and other retailers slumped Thursday after Macy's and Kohl's posted weak November and December sales and cut their forecasts.
BONDS: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.40 percent from 2.35 percent. The biggest losses Friday morning went to companies that pay large dividends, including phone companies, utilities and household goods makers. Those stocks are often compared to bonds because of the steady income they provide. Verizon gave up 68 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $53.38 and Wal-Mart fell 84 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $68.37.
CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 116.40 yen from 115.62 yen after a dip on Thursday. The euro slipped to $1.0562 from $1.0590.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude shed 3 cents to $53.73 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, which is used to price oil sold internationally, lost 20 cents to $56.69 a barrel in London.
OVERSEAS: Germany's DAX fell 0.2 percent and the FTSE 100 in Britain was little changed. The CAC-40 of France was 0.2 percent lower. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 0.3 percent while the Kospi in South Korea added 0.4 percent. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng advanced 0.2 percent.
AP Markets Writer Marley Jay can be reached at http://twitter.com/MarleyJayAP His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/journalist/marley-jay