The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index erased almost all its gains as an escalation in tension over Syria overshadowed slower-than-forecast jobs growth that eased concern about reductions in Federal Reserve stimulus.
The S&P 500 rose less than 1 point to 1,655.17 at 4 p.m. in New York. The benchmark hesitated 1.5% points during the session, the widest since June 24. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 14.98 points, or 0.1%, to 14,922.50, snapping a three-day winning streak. About 5.9 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, in line with the three-month average.
“It’s a very skittish stock market,” John Augustine, who helps manage $27 billion as chief market strategist at Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bancorp, said in a phone interview for Bloomberg. “We’re in a period where markets will react quickly to external news from a variety of sources, whether it’s the bond market, the Middle East, or one single economic report.”
Today’s report on weak jobs growth hasnt shifted economists’ expectations that the Fed this month will taper its monthly bond buying by $10 billion, to $75 billion, according to the median of 34 responses today in a Bloomberg News survey of economists. That was unchanged from an Aug. 9-13 poll, as was a projection that the program will end in June.
In corporate world, Facebook Inc. climbed 3% to a record $43.95. The owner of the world’s largest social-networking service had its share-price estimate boosted to $55 from $40 at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey Inc.
ETrade Financial Corp. added 4.6% to $16.26. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. raised its recommendation on the online brokerage to “buy” from “neutral”.
Timken Co. rose 2.1% to an all-time high of $61.52. The maker of ball bearings agreed to spin off its steel unit, dropping opposition to a plan pushed by Ralph Whitworth’s Relational Investors LLC after a shareholder vote and a Goldman Sachs Group Inc.-led review favored the split.
VeriFone Systems Inc. jumped 10% to $22.81, the highest since June 4. The maker of credit-card terminals forecast fourth-quarter sales of at least $418 million, topping the average analyst estimate of $412.9 million.