NEW YORK (AP) — A strong jobs report knocked down U.S. government bond prices Friday, sending yields higher, as traders bet that the Federal Reserve would raise interest rates later this year. Major stock indexes wavered between slight gains and losses after an early slump.
In Europe, markets were rattled by Greece's decision to bundle together its upcoming payments to the International Monetary Fund. That heightened concerns that the country could default on its debts and drop the euro.
KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average was down 36 points, or 0.1 percent, to 17,870 as of 11:42 a.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index slipped two points, a sliver of a percent, to 2,094, while the Nasdaq composite picked up two points, less than 0.1 percent, to 5,061.
JOBS: U.S. employers added 280,000 workers to their payrolls in May, the government reported. The unemployment rate inched up to 5.5 percent from 5.4 percent in April, a result of more people returning to the workforce in search of a job. The government also tweaked its estimate of hiring in March and April, raising hiring numbers for the two months by a combined 32,000.
RESPONSE: "I was pleasantly surprised," said Russell Price, Ameriprise Financial's senior economist. "This adds to the recent spate of positive data that shows the economy is really pulling out of its winter slump."
RATES: Traders dropped U.S. government bonds when the report came out, driving yields up. The benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.37 percent from 2.31 percent late Thursday, and the dollar jumped against other major currencies.
FED WATCH: Christopher Rupkey, chief financial economist at MUFG Union Bank, wrote in a note to clients that the strong jobs news could clear the way for the Fed to make its move. "Rate hikes this summer. Bet on it."
GREEK TURMOIL: The Greek government's decision late Thursday to bundle four debt payments to the International Monetary Fund totaling 1.6 billion euros ($1.8 billion) stoked fears about the country's finances. It's the first time a developed country has taken the option of rolling debt payments together, an emergency move last taken up last by Zambia in the 1980s. Greece's prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, is scheduled to address parliament Friday as discontent rises within his party.
EUROPE: Greece's stock market led the way lower. The benchmark Athens index slumped 5 percent. Elsewhere, France's CAC 40 lost 1.3 percent, while Germany's DAX fell 1.3 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 sank 0.8 percent.
ASIA'S DAY: Japan's Nikkei 225 finished with a drop of 0.1 percent, and South Korea's Kospi fell 0.2 percent. In China, Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped 1.1 percent, and the Shanghai Composite Index gained 1.5 percent.
OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 15 cents to $57.85 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oil, lost 31 cents to $61.68 a barrel in London.