Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S. (Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg)

U.S. Stocks Little Changed as Data Show Uneven Labor Market

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. stocks were little changed near a two-week low after November jobs data delivered a mixed picture on the strength of the labor market as investors assess the Federal Reserve’s plans to raise interest rates.

Hiring picked up last month while the unemployment rate tumbled to a nine-year low on a drop in the number of people in the workforce and wages unexpectedly declined. The S&P 500 Index rose less than one point to 2,192.05 at 4 p.m. in New York. The benchmark fell 1 percent in the week to cap its first drop since the presidential election.

U.S. Stocks Little Changed as Data Show Uneven Labor Market
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 20.82 points to 19,171.11, and the Nasdaq 100 Index ended higher by 0.1 percent.
  • Today’s jobs report is the last before Federal Reserve officials announce their policy decision on Dec. 14. Traders are pricing in a 100 percent chance they’ll boost the benchmark rate, up from 68 percent at the start of November.
  • Equities rallied in November, with major U.S. indexes posting new highs, as traders speculated president-elect Donald Trump will increase fiscal spending to stimulate the economy.
  • Some of the largest U.S. fund managers are skeptical of the rally’s strength. Bill Gross, who runs the $1.7 billion Janus Global Unconstrained Bond Fund, said yesterday such a belief is misguided as the benefits of fiscal stimulus will likely be temporary. 
  • Jeffrey Gundlach, whose DoubleLine Capital oversaw more than $106 billion as of Sept. 30, told investors that stocks have peaked and they should be wary of a Trump rally.