U.S. stocks closed lower Friday, with the Dow industrials hitting its worst losing streak since 2011’s debt-ceiling crisis, after the jobs report matched economists’ estimates, boosting the chances for a Federal Reserve interest-rate hike in September.
The nonfarm-payrolls report showed that the U.S. gained 215,000 jobs in July, largely matching expectations, and the unemployment rate stayed pat at 5.3%.
The solid employment data offers little reason to upend Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen’s plan to lift rates, possibly at the next two-day meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, which begins on Sept. 16.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.27% declined 46.37 points, or 0.3%, to 17,373.38, after having been down as many as 141 points earlier in the session. With seven straight days of losses, it marks the longest losing streak for the index since the height of the debt-ceiling drama in the summer of 2011.
Back in late July/early August 2011, the Dow lost ground for eight sessions in a row, shaving some 857 points, or 6.7%, off the index. The current losing streak has shaved nearly 380 points off the index, for a loss of 2.1%.
Another coincidence with August 2011: The Dow’s 50-day moving average is just 23 points away from passing below its 200-day moving average, or a so-called “death cross.” The last time the Dow’s 50-day moving average fell below its 200-day moving average was Aug. 24, 2011.