US stocks mixed after strong jobs data

New York: Wall Street stocks were mixed early Friday after US jobs data confirmed a strong employment landscape but firmed expectations of more aggressive Federal Reserve rate hikes.

About 30 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.3 percent to 25,924.71.

The broad-based S&P 500 shed 0.1 percent to 2,875.14, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite gained 0.2 percent to 7,941.39.

The US economy added 201,000 new jobs in August, well above analyst expectations, while the unemployment rate held steady at an already-low 3.9 percent.

But the biggest surprise was the bump in average hourly worker pay, which jumped 10 cents over July’s rate for a year-on-year increase of 2.9 percent, the largest jump in nearly a decade.

The Fed has been raising interest rates gradually but analysts said the job figures could prompt the US central bank to hasten the pace of rate hikes due to inflation concerns.

Among individual companies, Tesla Motors fell 7.4 percent after a pair of executive departures added to uncertainty surrounding the electric car maker a day after chief executive Elon Musk appeared in an interview smoking marijuana.