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Wall Street Opens Lower as Labor Report Tests Market Nerve; Dow Down 30 Pts

By Geoffrey Smith — U.S, stock markets were mostly lower at the opening on Friday, struggling to hold their nerve after being spooked by a labor report that hinted at sustained strong wage growth and inflationary pressure.

By 9:40 AM ET (1440 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 37 points, or 0.1%, at 36,199 points, on course to end a volatile week roughly unchanged. The S&P 500 was down by a similar amount, while the Nasdaq Composite, despite a 0.1% gain, remained on course for a weekly drop of 3.5% – its worst week in nearly a year. The S&P is set to close the week down 1.6%.

Earlier, the Labor Department had said in its monthly report on the labor market that average hourly earnings grew 0.6% in December, faster than the 0.4% expected. November’s figure was also revised higher. That, combined with a sharper-than-expected drop in the unemployment rate, outweighed a second straight miss in the headline job creation figure, which rose by only 199,000, compared to expectations of 400,000.

One stock bucking the general trend in early trade was GameStop (NYSE:GME), which rose 17% after The Wall Street Journal reported that the videogames retailer is looking at setting up a marketplace for non-fungible tokens, digital assets that are often bought and sold with digital currency. As such, the move may open up a new stream of revenue for 2021’s archetypal ‘meme stock’, which has otherwise struggled to justify the optimism behind its surge early last yearl

© Reuters.


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