Dow falls 200 points, Nasdaq loses 2% as investors weigh rising rates and strong jobs report

Dow falls 200 points, Nasdaq loses 2% as investors weigh rising rates and strong jobs report

U.S. stocks slid Friday as investors digested a stronger-than-expected jobs report and its implication for monetary policy going forward.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell about 250 points, or 0.8%. The S&P 500 slipped 1.4%. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite fell 2.3%.

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Hiring in the U.S. remained elevated in May. Nonfarm payrolls added 390,000 jobs last month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. Economists expected 328,000 jobs added, according to Dow Jones.

Average hourly earnings rose 0.3% in May, according to the BLS, slightly less than the consensus estimate of 0.4% and in line with April’s pace.

“Good news is bad news. … It reminds us that the Fed is still the swing factor, at least in investor emotion,” Mark Hackett, Nationwide’s chief of investment research, said.

Traders selling stocks likely reacted to the move higher in rates with fears of the Federal Reserve tightening monetary policy at the forefront. The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield climbed after the report, above the 2.96% level.

“Numbers this strong would likely reverse any hopes the Fed would consider a pause in rate hikes after the June/July increases, because it would signal the labor market remains very tight,” Tom Essaye of the Sevens Report said.

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Investors fear higher yields could slow the economy too much and tip it into a recession. Higher rates also discount the value of future earnings, which can make stocks look less attractive, especially growth and tech names.

Technology shares retreated amid the rising rates. Micron Technology fell about 7%, and Nvidia lost roughly 4%. Mega-cap tech names Google-parent Alphabet and Meta Platforms each lost more than 3%.

Apple eased around 4% after a cautious research note from Morgan Stanley. The firm said slowing App Store growth could hurt the company in the near-term.

Tesla shares fell more than 8% after Reuters reported, citing an internal email, that CEO Elon Musk wants to cut 10% of jobs at the car maker. According to Reuters’ report, Musk also said in the email that he has a “super bad” feeling about the economy.

The comments from Musk come after other warnings from bellwether companies this week. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon on Wednesday said he expects an economic “hurricane” ahead amid the war in Ukraine and the Fed’s tightening regime. On Thursday, Microsoft cut its earnings and revenue guidance for the fiscal fourth quarter, citing unfavorable foreign exchange rates.

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With Friday’s decline, the three major averages are each now about 1% lower on the holiday-shortened week. The weekly decline comes in spite of a strong session Thursday.

“We have transitioned pretty demonstrably from a ‘buy the dip’ world last year to a ‘sell the rally.’ Last week was a rally, this week is a bit of a pullback. Yesterday was a rally, today’s a pullback,” Hackett said.

“It’s very hard to have consecutive weeks or consecutive days of strength because there’s so much worry that people use any piece of good news as a chance to sell,” he added.