Dow trades flat after jobs report employee decline

Dow ( INDU ) and the S&P 500 alternated between gains and losses just after the opening clock. The Nasdaq ticked lower. Futures had indicated a solid higher opening before the release of the work report.

The job report showed that the United States added 130,000 jobs last month, lacked expectations and provided further evidence of a slowdown in hiring. Private pay grew at the slowest pace since May.

However, wage growth grew 3.2% from a year ago. And unemployment remained steady at 3.7%, near the lowest level in the last 50 years.

Investors were bidding for high-security bonds higher after the report. The 10-year government rate fell to 1[ads1].56%, compared with 1.6% before the work report.

Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, called the work report "ominous" and weaker than the headline suggests.

"The trend is softening, as companies are scaling back employment plans alongside capital expenditures, in the face of long-term and deep uncertainty," Shepherdson wrote in a note to clients.

Stocks have closed higher over the past two sessions, logging the best day in three weeks on Thursday amid optimism over US-China trade relations. Washington and Beijing will return to the negotiating table in October.

The job report is unlikely to derail expectations of further interest rate cuts.

The Federal Reserve first cut interest rates in July to boost the economy. Expectations for a quarter-point cut at the Sept. 18 meeting are 91%, according to CME's FedWatch tool.

A speech by Fed Chairman Jerome Powell at 1 p.m. 24:30. ET is also on the calendar Friday.

"He is likely to emphasize the rising trade risk for the outlook, at a time when inflation is already shy of the target, global and domestic economies are declining, and US industry is shrinking," said Priscilla Thiagamoorthy, an economic analyst at BMO, in a note.

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