US Stocks Lower on Job Market

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks fell broadly on Wall Street Thursday and Treasury yields rose after another hot reading on the job market raised worries that the Federal Reserve will need to continue inflicting pain on the economy in order to fight inflation.

The S&P 500 fell 0.8% as of 10:10 a.m. Eastern. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 301 points, or 0.9%, to 32,980 and the Nasdaq fell 0.9%.

The pullback came after payroll company ADP reported a bigger-than-expected increase in jobs at private companies last month. The U.S. government also reported that the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell to the lowest level in more than three months last week.

The strong jobs market reports follow a government report on Wednesday showing a higher than expected number of job openings in November.

The continued strength in the job market makes the Fed's job of reining in inflation more difficult by putting upward pressure on wages. The central bank remains determined to keep interest rates high in order to slow economic growth and tame inflation. The strategy, though, risks going too far bringing on a recession.

The yield on the two-year Treasury, which tends to track expectations for future Fed actions, was steady throughout most of the early morning, but rose significantly following the latest jobs reports. It jumped to 4.46% from 4.36% late Wednesday.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury, which influences mortgage rates, rose to 3.76% from 3.69% late Wednesday. Mortgage rates have rising significantly along with the Fed's rate increases.

The Fed's benchmark lending rate stands at a range of 4.25% to 4.5%, up from close to zero following seven increases last year. It has forecast that the rate will reach a range of 5% to 5.25% by the end of 2023 and it isn't calling for a rate cut before 2024.

Inflation has been easing from a peak of 9.1% in June to 7.1% in November and investors have been hoping for signs that could prompt the Fed to ease up on applying the brakes to the economy with high interest rates. Those hopes have been dashed so far.

The government will release its closely watched monthly employment report, for December, on Friday.