U.S. stocks closed mostly lower Friday after a strong jobs report provided further proof that the Federal Reserve is likely to raise interest rates in September. Friday’s declines were led by the telecommunications sector, while the financial and energy sectors closed higher.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) dropped 56.32 points, or 0.31 percent, to close at 17,849. The Standard & Poor's 500 (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) dipped 3.02 points, or 0.14 percent, to end at 2,093. However, the Nasdaq composite (INDEXSP:.INX) added 9.33 points, or 0.18 percent, to finish at 5,068.
For the week, the Dow lost 161 points, or nearly 1 percent, and the S&P 500 index lost 15 points, or 0.7 percent. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq dipped 2 points, or 0.03 percent.
The week started off on a disappointing note after consumer spending came in flat, sparking fears the first-quarter weakness would spill over into the current quarter. Consumer spending, which accounts for nearly two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, was unchanged in April from the prior month, and recorded its weakest performance in three months.
Americans remained cautious and kept income gains in savings, as the personal saving rate jumped to 5.6 percent of after-tax incomes, the second-highest level since December 2012.
However, disposable income rose in April, up 0.4 percent on solid advances in wages and salaries. Coupled with the upbeat jobs report Friday, economists say this week’s data suggests the U.S. economy is regaining momentum following a winter slowdown, meaning the Federal Reserve will likely raise interest rates in late summer or early fall.
Looking into the second quarter, strong income growth should support solid consumer spending while reduced global headwinds should make for less of a drag on exports and business investment, notes Gregory Daco, chief U.S. economist at Oxford Economics. Those factors also point to "firming inflation in the second quarter" and "a September rate liftoff," Daco said in a research note Friday.
Economists are looking ahead to the Commerce Department's retail sales report for April, to be released next Thursday. Sales rebounded in March, snapping three straight months of declines due to harsh winter weather, but sales came in flat in April. Wall Street forecasts retail sales to increase 1.1 percent in May, up from 0.0 percent in April, according to analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.
The upbeat jobs report suggests the economy is regaining momentum following a winter slowdown. The economy added 280,000 jobs in May, sharply beating forecasts for 225,000 additions.
The report also revealed the economy added an additional 32,000 jobs in March and April, easing concerns following a sharp hiring downturn in March. Manufacturing, which has been suffering due to the stronger U.S. dollar, rose by 7,000 jobs, up sharply from 1,000 the previous month. Private employment rose by 262,000, up from 206,000 the previous month.
Dow component Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) was the biggest decliner Friday, dropping nearly 2 percent, while JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) was the largest gainer in the blue-chip index, adding 1.6 percent. The financials likely gained Friday because the sector looks set to benefit from a hike in interest rates this year.