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US Stock Market Overview – Stocks Close Mixed, Job Openings Decline

Nasdaq and S&P 500 hit fresh all-time highs
David Becker

US Stocks were mixed on Tuesday following the first leg of Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s semi-annual testimony to Congress. The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 hit fresh all-time highs. The Fed Chair said the state of the economy is strong, and that they would monitor whether the coronavirus started to weigh on US economic growth. Large-cap tech stocks continued to grind higher, despite the FTC announcing that they would examine prior tech deals that involved Apple, Amazon, Alphabet, and Microsoft. All sectors in the S&P 500 index were higher, led by energy shares, consumer staples was the worth performing sector in the S&P 500 index.

President Trump took to Twitter during the Fed Chairs testimony to describe his displeasure with higher rates. He complained that the dollar was too strong and weighing on US exports. Job openings declined to the lowest level in 2-years which is a sign of an impending recession. The total number of openings is down more than a million from where it was a year ago. A decline in demand for several industries over the past several months is sending a signal that the jobs market is around a peak.

 

Job Opening Decline to 24-month Lows

The Labor Department reported on Tuesday that Job openings dropped in December to their lowest level in two years. Total vacancies now at 6.4 million, down from nearly 6.8 million in November. Wall Street estimates had been for about 6.9 million. Vacancies continued to decline in manufacturing with a 24% decline year-over-year. Overall, the hiring rate fell from 4.3% to 4%. The Job Openings and Labor Market Survey showed that total vacancies outnumber job seekers by nearly 700,000, down nearly by half from a few months ago. The total hire rate increased for the month, from 3.8% to 3.9%. Separations increased from 3.7% to 3.8% and quits held steady at 2.3%.

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