U.S. stocks opened lower on Friday as the highly-watched nonfarm-payrolls report came in mostly on par with market expectations.
U.S. total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 215,000 in July, compared with an average monthly gain of 246,000 over the prior 12 months, the U.S. Labor Department reported Friday. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.3 percent.
In July, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 5 cents to 24.99 U.S. dollars. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.1 percent.
Some analysts thought the July employment report supported the case for a rate hike as early as September.
Shortly after the opening bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 46.57 points, or 0.27 percent, to 17,373.18. The S&P 500 lost 4.43 points, or 0.21 percent, to 2,079.13. The Nasdaq Composite Index was down 18.75 points, or 0.37 percent, to 5,037.69.
On Thursday, U.S. stocks suffered big losses as investors digested initial jobless claims and corporate earnings reports, with the Dow logging a six-session losing streak.