U.S. Stocks fall, dollar flat after jobs data

Fri Aug 7, 2015 11:58am EDT
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By Richard Leong

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street stock prices fell and the U.S. dollar remained firm on Friday after the monthly U.S. employment data came close enough to forecast to stoke bets the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade perhaps as early as September.

The U.S. Labor Department said employers added 215,000 jobs in July, slightly below a Reuters poll of 223,000 jobs, but the unemployment rate held at a seven-year low of 5.3 percent and there were signs that wages were beginning to pick up.

"It should be enough to get the Fed to start moving," Erik Wytenus, global investment specialist at J.P. Morgan Private Bank in New York said of the July U.S. payrolls report.

The prospect of higher U.S. interest rates has made the dollar significantly more attractive to investors in the past year which in turn has lowered demand for commodities and crimped U.S. corporate earnings from exports.

The U.S. dollar index .DXY, which tracks the greenback versus a basket of euro EUR=, yen JPY= and four other currencies, reached 98.334, its highest since late April before turning lower to 97.788, down 0.05 percent from Thursday. [FRX/]

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI fell 122.07 points, or 0.7 percent, to 17,297.68, the S&P 500 .SPX decreased 13.45 points, or 0.65 percent, to 2,070.11 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC declined 41.30 points, or 0.82 percent, to 5,015.14. [.N]

European's top shares fell 0.9 percent at 1,574.99 .FTEU3 after data showed German exports and industrial output falling in June, a setback that underlined the need for central bank stimulus in the euro zone. [.EU]

Tokyo's Nikkei .N225 ended up 0.3 percent. [.T]   Continued...

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange July 28, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid