By Dan Miller, CFP®
In a holiday-shortened week of volatile trading, stocks surrendered some of the previous week’s strong gains.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.94%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 declined 1.20%. The Nasdaq Composite index lost 0.98% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, slipped 0.17%.1, 2, 3
An Uncertain Market
Stocks experienced wild swings last week, in part, due to ongoing uncertainty over economic health and the path of inflation. Investors seemed conflicted when interpreting the data, in some instances viewing economic strength as a negative since it may mean more aggressive rate hikes from the Fed.
Illustrative of how this uncertainty has played out, stocks surged higher on Thursday despite comments from Fed Vice Chair Lael Brainard indicating it’s unlikely that the Fed will pause on rate hikes. Then on Friday, stocks dropped as a better-than-expected jobs report raised concerns about monetary policy.
Strong Job Growth
The U.S. economy added 390,000 jobs in May, a slowdown from recent months but higher than consensus estimates. Job gains registered in several categories, led by leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, and warehousing and transportation. The retail sector lost jobs.4
The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.6%. Wage growth cooled off, with a 12-month increase of 5.2%, down from April’s year-over-year jump of 5.5%. Finally, the labor participation rate ticked higher again, reflecting how job availability is helping to pull Americans off the labor-market sidelines.5
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