NEW YORK, Aug 6 — Stock markets mostly fell yesterday as a much stronger-than-expected US jobs report raised the prospect that the Federal Reserve will maintain its aggressive monetary policy to combat inflation.
Official data published yesterday showed the US economy added 528,000 positions, defying all expectations of a slowdown.
Yesterday's data also showed US wages jumped, which will add to inflation concerns and likely push the Fed to raise rates aggressively again next month.
The Fed has previously said its decision will be guided by data.
Markets fell after the “absolutely monster” jobs report leaves “the Fed with all the ammo it needs to keep on hiking a lot more,” Markets.com analyst Neil Wilson told AFP.
But after tumbling decisively just after the data, Wall Street equities later came back somewhat, lifting the Dow into positive territory by the session’s end and lessening losses on the other two indices.
“Stocks really did hold up today all things considered, given the perspective going into the report,” said Briefing.com analyst Patrick O’Hare, who added that investors may have interpreted the data as showing the economy can withstand the Fed’s actions.
The broad-based S&P 500 finished at 4,145.19, down 0.2 per cent for the day but up 0.3 per cent for the week.
The dollar also rallied on the US jobs report.
In Europe, London equities ended the day down 0.1 per cent one day after the Bank of England unveiled a half-point interest rate hike and forecast UK inflation topping 13 per cent on surging domestic energy bills.
The BoE’s rate increase followed more aggressive monetary policy from the European Central Bank and the Fed as authorities crack down on rampant inflation in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Back in the eurozone, Frankfurt stocks shed 0.7 per cent and Paris declined 0.6 per cent at the close of trading.
“The dire warnings from the BoE are impossible to ignore as other central banks desperately try to avoid a similar fate,” OANDA analyst Craig Erlam told AFP.
“It seems only a matter of time until others are forced to accept that a recession is the price to pay for getting inflation under control.”
He added: “A period of stagflation now awaits the UK — and others may not be far behind as the crushing impact of energy prices wreaks havoc on living standards and saps demand.”
Stagflation is a toxic mixture of stubbornly high consumer prices and low economic growth. — AFP