Global equities and benchmark U.S. bond yields tumbled on Friday in volatile trade after data showed U.S. job growth slowed considerably in November and the Omicron variant of the coronavirus kept investors on edge.
Nonfarm payrolls increased by 210,000 jobs, the fewest since last December, but the unemployment rate plunged to a 21-month low of 4.2% and 594,000 people entered the labor force, the most in 13 months, indicating a rapidly tightening labor market.
Despite weak jobs growth, solid details in the Labor Department report suggested Federal Reserve plans to accelerate tapering of its bond purchases and expectations for multiple rate hikes next year remained intact.
The yield on 10-year U.S. Treasury notes fell 9.8 basis points to 1.351% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite stock index slid almost 3% at one point as investors anticipated slower economic growth next year.
“The market is saying the Fed is going to make a serious policy error by raising rates too quickly,” said Joe LaVorgna, chief economist for the Americas at Natixis. “Everything is working toward a much weaker growth backdrop; that is what the market senses, and the virus is occurring in the backdrop.”