* March U.S. jobs growth lowest since last May
* U.S. fires missiles at Syrian air base
* Stocks pull back after remarks by Fed's Dudley
* All three major indexes virtually flat
(Updates to late afternoon)
By Sinead Carew
NEW YORK, April 7 Wall Street's three major
indexes were virtually unchanged on Friday but fell well below
session highs in late-afternoon trading after a key Federal
Reserve official shed more light on the Fed's plan to reduce its
balance sheet while investors digested a weak jobs report.
New York Fed President William Dudley discussed the U.S.
central bank's developing plan for when to stop topping up bonds
that expire, as it currently does, how it plans to execute it
and how far it will ultimately go in shrinking its balance
U.S. Treasury yields rose after Dudley's remarks, which
helped push equities lower, according to Paul Zemsky, chief
investment officer, Multi-Asset Strategies and Solutions at Voya
Investment Management in New York.
At 3:35 P.M. EDT (1935 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial
Average was up 3.99 points, or 0.02 percent, to
20,666.94, the S&P 500 had lost 0.59 point, or 0.03
percent, to 2,356.9 and the Nasdaq Composite had added
0.33 point, or 0.01 percent, to 5,879.28.
Also in the late afternoon, media reports emerged that
Syrian warplanes had carried out strikes. Reuters cited the
Syrian observatory for human rights for its report.
The news followed a pre-dawn U.S. strike in Syria. The
United States fired missiles at an airfield from which it said a
deadly poison gas attack was launched this week.
The news of the U.S.-Syria attack sent global stocks lower
when it was announced, with the S&P 500 futures index falling as
much as 0.5 percent. But most of the losses ebbed after U.S.
officials described the attack as a one-off that would not lead
to wider escalation.
"We have a full plate of issues today. Outside of the
economy, you have China, you have Syria," said Sean Lynch,
co-head of global equity strategy at Wells Fargo Investment
Institute in Omaha, Nebraska.
The market had rallied after the Nov. 8 election on hopes
that U.S. President Donald Trump would live up to his campaign
promises for pro-business policies such as tax and regulation
reform. But investors increasingly question whether they would
In the coming days it "will be interesting to watch to see
if (Syria) does grab more attention from the White House and
delay some of these other issues and programs they are trying to
get passed through here," said Lynch.
U.S. employers added about 98,000 jobs in March, the fewest
since last May and well below economists' expectation of
180,000, as bad weather hit hiring at construction sites.
However, wage growth ticked up slightly and the unemployment
Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a
1.11-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.09-to-1 ratio favored decliners.
The S&P 500 posted 11 new 52-week highs and two new lows;
the Nasdaq Composite recorded 48 new highs and 38 new lows.
(Additional reporting by Rodrigo Campos, Chuck Mikolajczak and
Herbert Lash in New York, Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru;
Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and James Dalgleish)