Business

Amazon jitters offset upbeat jobs data on Wall Street

Shares of e-tailer, Walmart fall as India e-com rules kick in

Wall Street ended mixed on Friday, as optimism from a surge in January U.S. job growth was offset by a weaker-than-expected outlook from Amazon.com Inc. that battered retail stocks.

The online retail heavyweight slumped 5.38% after its quarterly sales forecast fell short of Wall Street estimates, overshadowing its record sales and profit during the holiday season.

Those results put the Nasdaq in negative territory, while retailers Walmart Inc, Macy’s Inc. and Kohl’s Corp. each dropped more than 2%. The S&P consumer discretionary index fell 1.77%.

A U.S. Labor Department report showed non-farm payrolls jumped by 3,04,000 jobs last month, the largest gain since February 2018 and beating economists’ expectations for an increase of 1,65,000.

That report, along with better-than-expected ISM manufacturing activity numbers for January, pointed to underlying strength in the economy despite an uncertain outlook that has left the Federal Reserve wary about more U.S. interest rate hikes this year.

“What the unemployment report is telling you is that people want to go back to work,” said Tom Martin, senior portfolio manager at GlobAlt Investments in Atlanta. “The consumer needs to be strong, and if the consumer is employed, the consumer will stay strong.”

Even as the U.S. economy remains on a stable footing, investors are concerned that a slowdown overseas could hurt profit growth, with high-profile companies such as Apple Inc. warning of slower demand in China.

Data showed China’s manufacturing sector shrank in January for the second straight month, heightening risks for global growth amid a trade war with United States.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.26% to end the week at 25,063.89 points, while the S&P 500 edged 0.09% higher to 2,706.53.

The Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.25% to 7,263.87.

The S&P 500 rose 1.6% for the week and the benchmark index is up 8% so far in 2019, but it still remains 8% below its record high close on Sept. 20, 2018.

The Dow added 1.3% for the week and the Nasdaq gained 1.4%.

During Friday’s session, Exxon Mobil Corp and Chevron Corp jumped more than 3% apiece after the oil majors reported better-than-expected quarterly profits, boosting the Dow Jones Industrials.

The S&P energy index rallied 1.83%, also helped by higher oil prices.

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Printable version | Jun 2, 2020 2:18:27 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/amazon-jitters-offset-upbeat-jobs-data-on-wall-street/article26162925.ece

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