August 2, 2013
The Dow industrials and S&P 500 ended at record highs for a second day on Friday, posting modest gains despite a mixed employment report that showed hiring slowed in July.
All but three of the 10 S&P 500 sectors ended higher, led by gains in the consumer discretionary index .SPLRCD, up 0.7 percent.
The jobs report showed non-farm payrolls rose by 162,000 in July, below expectations, but the unemployment rate fell to 7.4 percent, its lowest since December 2008. The mixed data could make the Federal Reserve more cautious about scaling back its massive economic stimulus.
The tepid report follows a series of better-than-expected data and optimism about strong growth in the second half of the year.
“The employment number clearly was a surprise on the downside,” said Eric Kuby, chief investment officer at North Star Investment Management Corp in Chicago.
“That the jobs picture has improved is pretty well established, so (the report) may not be the driver that it was before,” Kuby said.
Among the biggest drags on both the S&P 500 and the Dow was Chevron (CVX.N), the second-largest U.S. oil company. Its shares fell 1.2 percent to $124.95. The company posted a steeper-than-expected 26 percent drop in quarterly profit.
The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI was up 30.34 points, or 0.19 percent, at 15,658.36, a record close. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index .SPX was up 2.80 points, or 0.16 percent, at 1,709.67, also a record. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC was up 13.84 points, or 0.38 percent, at 3,689.59.
Stocks bounced late in the day after trading mostly flat, and both the Dow and S&P 500 also reached intraday record highs.
“This may be a little bit of traders not wanting to go into the weekend short,” said Fred Dickson, chief market strategist at D.A. Davidson & Co in Lake Oswego, Oregon.