US jobs data are closely watched for an insight into the state of the economy

New York (AFP) - Stock markets were mixed Friday after strong US jobs data raised concerns that the US Federal Reserve may continue to aggressively hike interest rates to tame inflation.

US government data showed that the world’s biggest economy added 263,000 jobs in November, with the unemployment rate remaining at 3.7 percent.

Government figures also indicated a bigger jump in hourly wages than analysts had benchmarked.

Indices in New York initially tumbled on the release as markets feared it would extend the period of ultra-aggressive Federal Reserve interest rate hikes to counter inflation.

But markets recovered throughout the day, with the S&P 500 ending down 0.1 percent.

Investors were unnerved by the jump in wages “because that tends to feed inflation,” said Quincy Krosby of LPL Financial

But traders also realize that “there’s a positive side to this,” she said. “The Fed has the luxury if you will to continue to raise rates, with smaller rate hikes. And the labor market remains resilient.”

The jobs data comes two days after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell signaled the central bank could moderate its aggressive posture on interest rates as soon as this month.

Earlier, London finished flat, while Frankfurt gained modestly and Paris dipped.

Investors were also focused on the oil market, where prices finished lower amid focus on talks on a price cap to limit Russia’s oil revenues.

The G7 and EU agreed a $60-per-barrel price cap on Russian oil late Friday. Analysts were still assessing the effect of the price ceiling, but have said the impact on supply could be limited because Russia currently sells some oil below this price level.

Traders are also focused on OPEC+, which may decide Sunday to slash oil production further to boost prices for its members, which include Saudi Arabia and Russia.

“There remains considerable uncertainty around the action OPEC+ will take when it meets,” noted OANDA trading platform analyst Craig Erlam.

Among individual companies, Boeing jumped 4.0 percent following a Wall Street Journal report that United Airlines is close to agreeing to order dozens of Boeing 787 Dreamliners. United shares were flat.

- Key figures around 2200 GMT -

New York - Dow: UP 0.1 percent at 34,429.88 (close)

New York - S&P 500: DOWN 0.1 percent at 4,071.70 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: DOWN 0.2 percent at 11,461.50 (close)

London - FTSE 100: FLAT at 7,556.23 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX: UP 0.3 percent at 14,529.39 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.2 percent at 6,742.25 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.2 percent at 3,977.90 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 1.6 percent at 27,777.90 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: DOWN 0.3 percent at 18,675.35 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.3 percent at 3,156.14 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.0531 from $1.0520 on Thursday

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 134.27 yen from 135.33 yen

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2296 from $1.2247

Euro/pound: DOWN at 85.73 pence from 85.90 pence

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 1.5 percent at $85.57 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 1.5 percent at $79.98 per barrel