U.S. stocks fell from their record highs on Friday after a report showed hiring was a touch weaker than expected last month.
U.S. job growth cooled considerably in December, as U.S. employers generated 145,000 new positions to close out 2019, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Labor Department figures released Friday.
Economists had forecasted a job growth of 162,000, while the unemployment rate remained steady at a 50-year low 3.5%.
In addition to the slow payroll growth, average hourly earnings rose by just 2.9%, below the 3.1% projection. December marked the first time that wage gains were below 3% on a year-over-year basis since July 2018.
Geopolitics remained on the radar over the weekend, with Iran admitting it downed a Ukrainian jet after mistaking it for a cruise missile.
Meanwhile, the U.S. and China are still expected to sign the first phase of their trade deal, which President Donald Trump said will take place on Wednesday.
After nearly three years of tweets, self-proclaimed “Tariff Man”, President Trump now looks to this Wednesday’s signing of the so-called “Phase-One” deal that includes protections for American intellectual property, food and farm goods, financial services and not manipulate its currency.
China’s Vice Premier Liu He, head of the country’s negotiation team in China arrives in Washington on Jan. 13-15, will attend on signing the agreement.
At the close, the S&P 500 slipped -9.35 points, or 0.29%, to 3,265.35 from its record set high of 3,282.99.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average briefly inked a 29,009.07 high, but it ended at 28,823.77, down -133.13 points, or -0.46%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite dropped -24.57 points, or -0.27%, to 9,178.86.