U.S. Equity Markets were volatile on Friday, ending the week mixed, with the Dow closing lower by 0.21% while the NASDAQ 100 closed at a new all-time high with a gain of 0.31%. The Bureau of Labour Statistics reported Non-Farm Payroll data for August showed 235,000 new hires compared with the expectation of 733,000. This was the weakest NFP Report since January. The U.S. Bond Market did not like the Average Earnings Component, which was up 0.6%. The Report indicated a weakening Demand aspect. This was also significantly lower than last month’s upwardly revised 1.05 million, suggesting the pace of economic growth is slowing. Meanwhile, the White House pledged to provide $2.7 billion for COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing to become the world’s “go-to” supplier. European Markets closed lower. Markit Euro-Zone’s final Composite PMI data for August declined compared with the preliminary number amid slowing growth of new orders. Euro-Zone Retail Sales figures for July fell unexpectedly after two months of gains, fuelled by a slowdown in German activity. Ahead of the election later this month, German polling data shows that Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party continues to lose ground to the Social Democrats. The European Union’s COVID-19 vaccinations increased to 540.2 million through Thursday, with more than 255.5 million individuals having been fully inoculated. In Asia, China’s Caixin Composite Purchasing Managers’ Index (“PMI”) data for August shifted to contraction territory for the first time since April 2020 due to COVID-19-related restrictions putting pressure on services activity. China’s Foreign Affairs Committee said it was opposed to a proposal for political relations and cooperation between the European Union and Taiwan. Markit Japan’s final Composite PMI data for August fell compared with the initial reading thanks to a decline in services activity. South Korean Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said the government would extend social-distancing restrictions for another four weeks due to the resurgence of COVID-19 cases. Elsewhere, Oil fell 1.06% on news that the number of oil and gas rigs in the U.S. declined by 11 last week in the wake of Hurricane Ida, while Gold rose 1% on Dollar weakness.
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