(Reuters) – As Wall Street’s key indicators weighed on sharp gains this week as Democrat Joe Biden’s close to a nail-biting election victory, the monthly jobs report underscores the economic challenge facing the next president of the United States.
Biden led President Donald Trump in the war-torn states of Pennsylvania and Georgia, and the White House was on the verge of victory just hours after Trump mistakenly claimed the election was “being stolen” from him.
“Markets are very comfortable with that idea (biden win), but if it competes, it adds a bit of uncertainty,” said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James in St. Petersburg, Florida.
“Even though these states are really close, we have to go back and explain, so we’ll be uncertain for a long time.”
Despite the losses on Friday, the benchmark S&P 500 and tech-heavy Nasdaq are in their best week since April, as the possibility of a policy gridlock in Washington has eased concerns about tougher regulations on US companies.
Outcome of four undecided races pending Republicans have control over the U.S. Senate and they are likely to obstruct much of Biden’s legislative agenda, including expanding health care and combating climate change.
Meanwhile, a close scrutiny report by the government found that unemployment fell to 6.9 per cent from 7.7 per cent last month, but job recovery has slowed due to rising financial support and rising daily coronavirus cases.
“Despite the short-term rally, in the end we’re going to see some real challenges in payrolls and the economy,” said Phil Toves, chief executive officer and portfolio manager for Toves Corp in New York.
“The number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the country (COVID-19) is a very important indicator and it is going in a completely wrong direction.” At 12:36 pm, the ET Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.31% to 28,299.98, the S&P 500 was down 0.16% to 3,504.79 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 0.21% to 11,866.16.
Technology mega-caps, including Apple Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Facebook Inc., fell after registering strong gains this week and are one of the biggest drags on the S&P 500 benchmark.
Coty Inc. rose 15%, beating cosmetics analysts’ expectations for quarterly earnings, while T-Mobile US Inc. rose 6.1% in the third quarter after analysts added more phone subscribers than expected.
Electronic Arts Inc. fell 7.8% as video game maker fell short of quarterly sales expectations.
Problems are declining from 1.42-to-1 in NYSE and 1.59-to-1 in Nasdaq.
The S&P Index recorded 40 new 52-week highs and not a new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 168 new highs and 22 new lows.
Reporting in Bangalore by Medha Singh and Susan Mathew; Sagarika Jaisinghani in Bangalore and Tom Westbrook in Singapore Additional Reporting; Editing by Shriraj Kalluvila, Shaunak Dasgupta