Uplifting Jobs Report Softens Bears’ Bite

Thursday’s sudden jolt of volatility hasn’t worked its way out of the market yet, but the hungry selling did subside somewhat Friday in the wake of a heartening improvement in America’s employment data.

The Labor Department reported that nonfarm payrolls came in at a better-than-expected 1.37 million for August, and that unemployment dropped to 8.4% from 10.2% in July.

“A drop in the unemployment rate to single digits … is a psychologically meaningful threshold to breach,” says Rick Rieder, BlackRock’s chief investment officer of global fixed income.

That had little effect early in Friday’s session, but bulls chipped away at the losses during the afternoon to help the major indices close at much more modest declines. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which dropped by as much as 2.2%, finished off 0.6% to 28,133.

Other action in the stock market today:

  • The Nasdaq Composite, which was as much as
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