U.S. stock indexes fall

by Jonathan Adams
stock indexes

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished the session down 0.2 percent, while the S&P 500 dropped 1.01 point, and the Nasdaq rose less than 0.1 percent

U.S. stock indexes slumped on Friday following a post-election rally, as new data showed slowing job growth and Democrat Joe Biden moved closer to winning the presidency.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid more than 100 points in morning trading before ending the session down 66.78 points, or 0.2 percent, to 28,323.40.

At the closing bell, the S&P 500 was roughly flat, down 1.01 point or less than 0.1 percent, and the Nasdaq edged up by 4.30 points, or less than 0.1 percent.

It followed jobs data that said employers added 638,000 jobs last month — more than economists expected, but representing another slowdown in monthly job growth.

Investors have been buoyed by electoral results that so far have nearly eliminated prospects a ‘blue wave’ that would see Democrats take control of both the White House and Congress and raise the chances of a rollback in business-friendly policies.

The upside of that for markets is that gridlock may prevent Democrats from approving some of the measures investors feared, such as higher tax rates and tougher antitrust policies for big technology companies.

The downside of a split government is that a still-divided Washington makes any support package for the economy coming from Congress likely to be less generous than if Democrats had swept the election.

Investors and economists say the economy needs such stimulus, particularly when the country´s new coronavirus cases are setting records once again.

Even if the strictest lockdowns don’t return in the United States, the worry is that the worsening pandemic will scare consumers by itself and erase profits for businesses.

Another risk for the market is that of a contested election for the presidency. Markets see cause for optimism if either Biden or President Donald Trump wins, and what investors want more than anything is for a clear winner to emerge.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury climbed to 0.82 percent from 0.78 percent late Thursday following the new jobs data.

The rally helped the 10-year Treasury yield claw back some of its recent slide. It had been above 0.90 percent earlier this week when expectations were rising that a Democratic sweep of Tuesday´s elections could open the door for a big stimulus effort for the economy.



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