Lower than expected payroll numbers and news of President Donald Trump's COVID-19 diagnosis weighed Friday on U.K. money manager sentiment regarding the U.S.
The S&P 500 index ended 1% lower in trading Friday in New York.
Although unemployment data are becoming "less awful," momentum is slowing, Neil Williams, senior economic adviser, international at Federated Hermes, said in a statement. "If jobs continue to be clawed back at September's rate, it would take another 16 months for the 11 million workers displaced since February to return," assuming rehiring is "full and consistent," he said.
Markets needed at or above expectation for U.S. nonfarm payroll numbers Friday "and in the very broadest sense it just hasn't delivered," Charles Hepworth, investment director at GAM Investments, said in a statement. "Payrolls rose only 661,000 against expectations of a 900,000 gain. This was the last non-farms report before the U.S. election and one in which both political sides have a keen interest — would there be clear evidence that the jobs market was improving or is the pandemic delaying any spluttering recovery? Well it seems that the jobs numbers have underwhelmed and point to a slowing recovery."
Mr. Hepworth said the unemployment rate "strangely" fell to 7.9% from 8.4% "and it feels like investors are looking for any consolation they can get today following news of Trump's positive COVID-19 diagnosis. It goes without saying that the next week will be crucial to sentiment."
AXA Investment Managers executives expected unemployment to come in at 8.2%. David Page, head of macro research, said in a statement that the fall further in September was "not a healthy sign." The firm does not expect unemployment to finish the year below 7.5%, Mr. Page said.