S&P 500 Index opens flat near 4,400, energy stocks post strong gains

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  • Wall Street’s main indexes opened near Thursday’s closing levels.
  • Investors assess the disappointing jobs report and implications on Fed’s policy outlook.
  • Energy shares trade in the positive territory on rising crude oil prices.

Major equity indexes in the US opened little changed on Friday as investors evaluate the latest labour market report and what it means for the Federal Reserve’s policy outlook.

As of writing, the S&P 500 Index was posting small daily gains at 4,402, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.1% at 34,790 and the Nasdaq Composite was rising 0.15% at 14,680.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday that Nonfarm Payrolls (NFP) increased by 194,000 in September, compared to the market expectation of 500,000. On an upbeat note, the Unemployment Rate declined to 4.8% from 5.2% in August despite the fact that the Labor Force Participation Rate only fell by 0.1 percentage points to 61.6%.

Although the disappointing NFP could be seen as a factor that could weigh on risk sentiment, it could also allow the Fed to delay its tapering, which is a positive development for stocks.

Among the 11 major S&P 500 sectors, the Energy Index is up 1.7% supported by a 1% rise seen in US crude oil prices. On the flip side, the defensive Real Estate Index is losing 0.4%.

S&P 500 chart (daily)