Stocks End Mixed on Stimulus Talks, U.S.-China Worries, Jobs Data

Stocks finish mixed as investors parsed a better-than-expected jobs report, continued stimulus talks, and increased U.S.-China tension.
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Stocks ended mixed Friday as negotiations on a coronavirus stimulus package and increased political tensions between Washington and Beijing overshadowed a better-than-expected jobs report.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up 47 points, or 0.17%, to 27,433, the S&P 500 ticked up 0.06%, while the Nasdaq dropped 0.87%.

Stocks finished higher on Thursday with the Nasdaq posting another record close, closing above 11,000 for the first time.

The U.S. economy added a better-than-expected 1.8 million jobs last month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday, pulling the headline unemployment rate to 10.2%.

But the pace of hiring slowed from the previous month amid a surge in coronavirus infections and new business closures.

"Investors will most likely cheer this employment report, but I think there are potential downside risks if the White House and Congress fail to make progress in their negotiations on another coronavirus relief bill," said Brian Price, head of investment management for Commonwealth Financial Network. 

"It’s nice to see unemployment improve to around 10%, but the reality is that is a lot of Americans are struggling right now due to the pandemic and need assistance. The stakes are too high to not get a deal done and provide help to those in need." 

Negotiations ground to a halt Friday, according to CNBC, with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) calling the 90-minute meeting “disappointing.” 

He and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) said the White House again rejected an offer for Democrats to reduce their asking price by $1 trillion and the Trump administration to increase its price tag by the same amount. 

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the offer was "a non-starter."

President Donald Trump is threatening an executive order to extend the weekly $600 payment, but Republicans and Democrats remain trillions of dollars apart in their respective plans.

Trump issued executive orders late Thursday that bar "U.S. transactions" with China-based social media apps WeChat and TikTok, citing "significant risks" to personal data and digital security.

"TikTok ... automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users," the order read. "This data collection threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information — potentially allowing China to track the locations of Federal employees and contractors, build dossiers of personal information for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage."

The decision will come into effect in mid-September, around the same time as Microsoft  (MSFT) - Get Report is expected to either complete its purchase of TikTok or walk away from a transaction that was essentially forced by the White House.

TikTok owner ByteDance said Friday that it will pursue "all legal remedies available" in response to Trump's decision.

China has vowed to hit back at Trump's potentially sweeping ban, saying the executive order was "using state power to oppress non-American businesses."

Meanwhile, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said Thursday he had taken a second coronavirus test that came back negative, shortly after his office said the governor had tested positive for covid-19.

Former national security adviser Susan Rice, a Netflix  (NFLX) - Get Report director, sold some of her shares of the video-streaming company worth $305,323 this week. The sale comes as speculation swirls that she is among the candidates to be Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s running mate, Bloomberg reported.

Uber Technologies  (UBER) - Get Report slumped Friday after the ride-hailing company booked a $1.8 billion second-quarter loss as passenger traffic dried up during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic.

Online real-estate company Zillow Group  (Z) - Get Report was rising after reporting that its second-quarter loss widened, but the figure was stronger than analysts had estimated.

Separately, Reuters reported that the United States on Friday imposed sanctions on Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, the territory's current and former police chiefs and eight other officials for their role in curtailing political freedoms in the territory.