The US economy added 216,000 jobs last month, beating expectations


Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) during morning trading on January 3, 2024, in New York City. Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

U.S. stocks opened mixed Friday morning after a better-than-expected December jobs report.

Markets swung up and down in the first minutes of trading as traders struggled to find direction following a key report from the Labor Department that showed the U.S. economy added 216,000 jobs in December. Wall Street expected 160,000 jobs to be created in the last month of the year.

While a resilient labor market is good news for American households, it also signals that the Federal Reserve could delay immediate interest rate cuts this year. Financial markets are now pricing in a just over 50% chance of a rate cut at the Federal Reserve’s March meeting, down from around 75% a week before the report.

The Dow Jones gained 27 points, or 0.1%, on Friday morning. The S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 0.2%.

Still, the first week of the new year has been difficult for Wall Street: Both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq are on track to snap their nine-week winning streaks.

Meanwhile, investors are already looking ahead to next week, when trading activity will pick up as traders’ holidays end and inflation reports are released. The big banks will also begin fourth-quarter earnings season on Friday.

The JPMorgan Chase healthcare conference and CES also begin next week. These conferences are likely to provide some clarity on the key themes that will drive commerce in 2024, including consumer spending, GLP-1 weight loss drugs, and artificial intelligence.

In corporate news, Peloton shares rose 4.2% on Friday after the company announced it will partner with TikTok to bring short workout videos to the platform.

Costco shares rose 1.6% after the company announced that its December sales increased nearly 10% year over year, driven largely by online shopping.

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