Stocks slid as investors hemmed and hawed over whether a blowout jobs report was a good or bad thing.
The S&P 500 fell 0.42%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 0.32%, and the Nasdaq was flat.
U.S. payrolls added 271,000 jobs in October, according to the Labor Department, well above estimates of 205,000. U.S. hourly wages posted their biggest year-over-year gain in six years, rising 0.4% over the month. The unemployment rate fell to 5%, a seven-and-a-half-year low.
The stronger-than-expected jobs report is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, it shows that the U.S. economy is back on the growth track after several months of weakness. On the other, this makes a December rate hike even more likely, especially after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen made clear earlier in the week that the next meeting there is a "live" possibility for an increase.
This month's report had taken on added significance as one of the two the Fed will have to analyze before a rates decision is made in December.
"The much bigger-than-expected ... surge in nonfarm payrolls in October confirms that the weakness in August and September was just a temporary blip and, given the circumstances, a December interest rate hike would now appear to be the most likely outcome," said chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics Paul Ashworth.
In other deals news, Alibaba (BABA) and Chinese streaming company Youku Tudou (YOKU) have agreed to a merger. The Chinese e-commerce company will pay $27.60 per Youku American Depositary Share, a 35% premium to its closing price in mid-October. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of next year. Youku shares jumped 9% on the news.
Walt Disney (DIS) shares climbed 1% despite the media company reporting weaker-than-expected revenue in its fourth quarter. However, the world's largest entertainment company did post a 7% increase in profit driven by stronger demand at its resorts.
Monster Beverage (MNST) climbed 8% after posting a better-than-expected quarter. The energy drink company earned 84 cents a share, 14 cents above forecasts. Revenue soared 16% to $756.6 million.
DreamWorks Animation (DWA) climbed 7% after the DVD release of children's movie Home helped to boost profits in its recent quarter. The media company posted a surprise profit of 2 cents a share. Analysts had expected a loss of 5 cents a share.
Take-Two Interactive (TTWO) added more than 4% after the video game retailer upped its full-year outlook on strong sales of its popular titles such as Grand Theft Auto and NBA 2K. The company expects full-year profit between $1 and $1.15 a share, up from a previous range of 75 cents to $1 a share.
Graphics chipmaker Nvidia (NVDA) jumped more than 7% after a better-than-expected quarter. The company earned 46 cents a share, 11 cents above estimates, on revenue of $1.3 billion, above forecasts of $1.18 billion.
Men's Wearhouse (MW) tanked 41% after the suit retailer cut its outlook for the third quarter to between 46 cents and 51 cents a share, down from the 87 cents a share previously forecast. The company blamed the lower guidance on weaker sales at Jos. A. Bank, the retail chain it acquired last year.