U.S. stocks are mostly higher Friday after the Labor Department said hiring remained solid in July. Larger companies climbed while smaller, U.S.-focused companies lagged the rest of the market. There was little immediate reaction to China‘s threat to put tariffs on $60 billion in American goods. Bond prices edged higher, sending yields lower. Food companies and other big-dividend stocks climbed.
KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index rose 8 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,836 as of 2:15 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 97 points, or 0.4 percent, to 25,423. The Nasdaq composite fell 3 points to 7,799. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks lost 11 points, or 0.7 percent, to 1,670.
The benchmark S&P 500 is on pace for its fifth weekly gain in a row. Some of those gains have been small, but that’s the longest winning streak for the index this year.
JOBS: U.S. employers slowed their hiring in July, and they added fewer jobs than analysts expected. The bankruptcy of Toys R Us and job cuts in local governments dragged down the totals. The Labor Department said more jobs were added in May and June than it had previously reported, which made up for the shortfall last month.
Brad McMillan, chief investment officer for Commonwealth Financial Network, said the data show the economy is likely to keep expanding, but it’s not heating up in a way that would push the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates more quickly.
“That’s exactly what the market wants to see,” he said. “This report is right in the sweet spot.”
THE QUOTE: Hourly wage growth remained modest in July, and inflation-adjusted wages are actually decreasing because inflation has gradually picked up. McMillan said another reason for the slip is that companies are hiring people with lower education levels because there are more of those workers available. But while low or stagnant wages are good for company profits and stock prices, it could pose a problem for the economy.
“One of the real questions going forward is whether in fact consumers can keep spending at the rate they have,” he said.
EXTRA LIFE: Video game publisher Take-Two Interactive jumped 8.4 percent to $122.70 percent after it topped Wall Street’s expectations in the fiscal first quarter and raised its projections for the rest of the year. The company said players spent more money on “Grand Theft Auto Online” and “NBA 2K18” than it expected. Rival Activision Blizzard lost 4.3 percent to $70.86 after a weak revenue forecast.
EATS UP: Kraft Heinz climbed after the maker of Oscar Mayer meats and Jell-O pudding said improved sales in Europe and Asia helped offset weaker results from the U.S. and Canada. The company’s profit fell sharply and its costs increased, but its results were better than analysts expected.
The New York Post reported that Kraft has had talks with Campbell Soup about a possible deal, something the Post had reported in late June. It said Kraft hasn’t made an offer. Kraft Heinz gained 8.3 percent to $64.31 and Campbell rose 2.7 percent to $42.85.
Cereal maker Post Holdings climbed 7.7 percent to $93.35 after reporting quarterly revenue that was higher than analysts were expecting. The company also said the private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners is investing in its private brands division. Post might spin off its stake in that business, 8th Avenue Food & Provisions, into a separate company.
EARNING IT: GoPro jumped 19.4 percent to $7.15 after the action video camera company said its sales improved from last quarter and it continued to cut costs.
Security software company Symantec plunged 10.2 percent to $18.75 after it said billings were lower than expected in its most recent quarter. The company also forecast a smaller adjusted profit and weaker sales for the full fiscal year.
TARIFF THREATS: China and the U.S. continued to threaten each other with more tariffs. China’s government said Friday that it will put tariffs on $60 billion in goods including coffee, honey and industrial chemicals if the U.S. goes ahead with a proposal to tax $200 billion in Chinese imports. The Trump administration said this week that it might put a tariff of 25 percent on those goods, a higher rate than it had threatened previously.
BONDS: Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.95 percent from 2.98 percent.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 0.6 percent to $68.54 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, dipped 0.4 percent to $73.14 per barrel in London.
Energy companies traded lower following some disappointing quarterly reports. Noble Energy sank 6.7 percent to $33.34 and EOG Resources fell 3.7 percent to $121.31. Those stocks have lagged behind the rest of the market in recent weeks after they made big gains earlier this year.
METALS: Gold picked up 0.3 percent to $1,223.20 an ounce. Silver added 0.5 percent to $15.46 an ounce. Copper gained 0.9 percent to $2.76 a pound.
CURRENCIES: The dollar weakened slightly. It fell to 111.21 yen from 111.69 yen. The euro rose to $1.1583 from $1.1587.
OVERSEAS: The British FTSE 100 jumped 1.1 percent. Germany’s DAX added 0.6 percent and the CAC 40 in France edged up 0.3 percent.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 added less than 0.1 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gave up 0.2 percent. South Korea’s Kospi added 0.8 percent.
AP Markets Writer Marley Jay can be reached at http://twitter.com/MarleyJayAP His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/marley%20jay