US markets were lower on Friday morning after February’s jobs report showed signs of easing inflation.
Payrolls increased last month by 311,000 jobs, blowing past Wall Street’s expectations of 205,000 jobs added, but investors found hope in smaller-than-expected wage gains.
Slowing wage increases could be a sign of cooling inflation and may alleviate some pressure on the Federal Reserve to aggressively hike interest rates at its policy meeting later this month.
Traders are now pricing in a 50% chance that the Fed will raise interest rates by a hefty half point at its next meeting, down from nearly 80% on Wednesday.
Treasury yields, which typically move in the opposite direction of stocks, also dropped following the release of the jobs report.
Still, Wall Street was in panic mode after tech lender SVB Financial Group announced on Thursday that it needed to sell billions of dollars of assets to make its customers whole. Fear of a bank run sent shares of SVB plunging 60% on Thursday, trading was halted on Friday morning pending news.
That plunge spilled over into the rest of the banking industry as investors worried about larger risks in the sector.
US bank stocks logged the largest declines in nearly three years on Thursday, and continued to fall on Friday. Shares of JPMorgan Chase were down about 0.7% on Friday while shares of Citigroup fell by 1.5%. Wells Fargo was down 2.1% and Bank of America dropped by 3.9%.
The Dow was down 87 points, or 0.3%, on Friday morning.
The S&P 500 fell by 0.4%.
The Nasdaq Composite was 0.5% lower.