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Stocks mostly fall after US jobs report disappoints

By AFP - Oct 09,2021 - Last updated at Oct 09,2021

A 'now hiring' sign is seen outside of a business on Friday, in Miami, Florida (AFP photo)

NEW YORK — Global stock markets mostly fell on Friday following weaker-than-expected US jobs data as oil prices continued to rise, adding to inflation worries.

The much-anticipated Labour Department report showed the United States added only 194,000 jobs last month, less than half the number expected by analysts due to declining public sector staffing and lackluster hiring in bars and restaurants.

On the positive side, the unemployment rate ticked down more than expected to 4.8 per cent, and the last two months' jobs gains were revised upwards.

"It actually wasn't as bad as it appeared," JJ Kinahan of TD Ameritrade said of the monthly report, adding that the decline in hiring in schools skewed the overall figure.

Wall Street indices ended with modest losses for the day following a choppy session, but with weekly gains.

Analysts broadly expect the Federal Reserve (Fed) to stick with a plan to soon taper stimulus. That sets the stage for more choppiness in the weeks ahead, Kinahan said.

"I think we're going to continue to have more elevated volatility and volatile sessions because you're seeing the market pressures on interest rates in anticipation of the Fed at some point talking about when they are going to exactly start tapering," he said.

Next week sees the unofficial kick-off of third-quarter earnings season, with reports from JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and other banks. Analysts worry that higher costs due to supply chain snarls and shortages of key raw materials will cut into corporate profits.

In Europe, stock prices in Frankfurt and Paris ended the day in negative territory. Only the FTSE in London closed the week on a stronger footing. 

"A bit of a flat end to an otherwise eventful week that has seen investors whipsaw between panic and optimism," said OANDA analyst Craig Erlam, adding that investors are "blissfully ignoring" risks such as higher energy prices "heading into crisis season". 

Oil prices resumed their upward trajectory on rising demand expectations and concerns over tight supplies.

Asian stock markets earlier closed their week out higher after a global rally Thursday as US lawmakers voted to avert a catastrophic debt default.

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