KEY POINTS

  • Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 1.8 million in July, while the unemploymene rate fell to 10.2%
  • The US sanctioned 11 Hong Kong and Chinese officials, including Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam
  • Trump also signed executive orders banning U.S. residents from transacting any business with WeChat, TikTok

U.S. stocks finished mixed on Friday as traders weighed a strong jobs report against rising tensions with China and lack of progress on new federal stimulus package.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 46.5 points to 27,433.48, while the S&P 500 edged up 2.12 points to 3,351.28 and the Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 97.09 points to 11,010.98.

For the week, the Dow gained 3.8%.

Friday’s volume on the New York Stock Exchange totaled 3.62 billion shares with 1,855 issues advancing, 96 setting new highs, and 1,125 declining, with seven stocks setting new lows.

Active movers were led by OpGen Inc. (OPGN), Conduent Inc. (CNDT) and General Electric Co. (GE).

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said on Friday that nonfarm payroll employment rose by 1.8 million in July, while the unemployment rate fell to 10.2%.

“These improvements in the labor market reflected the continued resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed due to the coronavirus pandemic and efforts to contain it,” the bureau stated.

Justin Wolfers, an economics professor at University of Michigan, tweeted: “The economy is still in a massive hole, but we're crawling back out. The problem is that the pace of improvement has slowed to a crawl.”

President Donald Trump again ratcheted up tensions with China by sanctioning 11 Hong Kong and Chinese officials, including Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam.

Trump also signed executive orders banning U.S. residents from transacting any business with WeChat, TikTok or with the apps’ Chinese owners, Tencent and ByteDance in 45 days.

WeChat “automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users. This data collection threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information,” Trump’s order said.

TikTok “may also be used for disinformation campaigns that benefit the Chinese Communist Party,” Trump’s order added. “The United States must take aggressive action against the owners of TikTok to protect our national security.”

“The executive orders leveled on TikTok and the scrutiny over WeChat has opened up a most unwelcome can of worms,” said Stephen Innes, chief global markets strategist at AxiCorp.

Traders are also concerned about an impasse in negotiations between the White House and congressional Democrats over a new stimulus package.

“We’re still a considerable amount apart in terms of a compromise that could be signed into law,” said White House Chief Of Staff Mark Meadows of the talks.

Trump has threatened to pull out of the talks and settle the matter with an executive order.

“In order for stocks to move higher, we do need a fiscal policy package in the $1.5 trillion range,” said Michael Arone, chief investment strategist at State Street Global Advisors. “Without that the economy is likely to retrace. This recovery will stall without one

Overnight in Asia markets finished lower, as China’s Shanghai Composite index fell 0.96%; Japan’s Nikkei-225 slipped 0.39%; and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng exchange dropped 1.6%.

In Europe markets finished higher, as Britain’s FTSE-100 edged up 0.09%, while France’s CAC-40 rose 0.09% and Germany’s DAX climbed 0.66%.

Crude oil futures dropped 1.05% at $41.51 per barrel, Brent crude gained 0.52% at $44.63. Gold futures fell 1.35%.

The euro dropped 0.75% at $1.1788 while the pound sterling rose 0.64% at $1.3059.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury jumped 4.85% to 0.562% while yield on the 30-year Treasury gained 2.33% to 1.229%.