NEW YORK (AP) — It’s an old adage that investors hate uncertainty. Unfortunately for them, they got more of it on Friday.
The stock market has been volatile for weeks on concern that China’s economy is slowing more rapidly than previously thought. But investors have also had to contend with uncertainty about the outlook for interest rates.
Investors had been hoping that the government’s August jobs report would give them more clarity on interest rates, before a key Federal Reserve meeting later this month. However, a mixed report left them guessing as to whether policymakers will feel confident enough about the strength of the economy to raise interest rates from historic lows.
The report showed that the U.S. unemployment rate fell to a seven-year low in August, but also that employers added fewer jobs than forecast.
“It’s interesting and disappointing that today’s data didn’t provide us with that ‘Ah-ha!’ clarity that everyone is seeking,” said Michael Arone, chief investment strategist at State Street Global Advisors.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 272.38 points, or 1.7 percent, to 16,102.38. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gave up 29.91 points, or 1.5 percent, to 1,921.22.
On Friday, the S&P 500 ended the week down 3.4 percent. The index is down nearly 10 percent from its peak of 2,130.82 reached May 21.