U.S. Stock ETFs Falter After Strong Jobs Report Weighs on Rate Cut Bets

U.S. markets and stock exchange traded funds slipped Friday after a better-than-expected June jobs report dimmed expectations of a quick rate cut out of the Federal Reserve.

On Friday, the Invesco QQQ Trust (NASDAQ: QQQ) decreased 0.3%, SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (NYSEArca: DIA) fell 0.1% and SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSEArca: SPY) dropped 0.3%.

The Labor Department revealed nonfarm employers added 224,000 jobs in June, the most in five months, stoking fears that a strong labor market would deter policymakers at the U.S. central bank from cutting interest rates, Reuters reports.

The Fed previously hinted at the possibility of cuts last month due to muted inflation that was below its 2% target and a weaker economic outlook as a result of a U.S. trade war and slower global growth.

“They are in a bit of a bind,” Karim Basta, chief economist at III Capital Management, told Reuters. “On the surface, the data, in my opinion, doesn’t really support an imminent cut, but markets are expecting it, and I do think there’s a risk at this stage that they disappoint.”

U.S. interest rates futures also pulled back after the jobs report on Friday. While the markets still anticipate a rate cut this month, many largely priced out an aggressive half-percentage-point cut. According to CME Group data, traders have placed a 98% chance of a rate cut at the Fed’s July meeting and a roughly 2% chance the central bank will hold steady.

“These are good numbers, but a rate cut in July is still all but inevitable,” Luke Bartholomew, investment strategist for Aberdeen Standard Investments, told Reuters. “Employment growth remains a bright spot amid a fairly mixed bag of U.S. data and yet markets have come to expect a cut now so (they) will fall out of bed if they don’t get one.”

Putting the jobs report aside, we still see that U.S. economic figures have revealed mixed results. The U.S. economy has exhibited slowing manufacturing activity to declining consumer sentiment, along with tepid inflation, The Wall Street Journal reports.

For more information on the markets, visit our current affairs category.