U.S. stock indexes ended mixed Friday, with the Nasdaq booking its 35th record close of 2021, but the other two main bourses closing lower, heading into a three-day Labor Day weekend, after a report on monthly employment from the Labor Department came in weaker than expected, sparking fresh questions about the job market’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic amid the spread of the delta variant. The Dow Jones Industrial Average
closed down 0.2% on the session and booked a weekly decline of 0.24%. The S&P 500 index
finished 0.03% lower on Friday but marked a 0.6% gain for the week, while the Nasdaq Composite
notched a 0.2% gain for the day, enough for a record closing high—its 35th of the year—contributing to a weekly gain of 1.6%, FactSet data show. Monthly reports from the Labor Department showed that the U.S. economy added 235,000 jobs in August, far fewer than forecast for an increase of 720,000, but the unemployment rate dropped to 5.2% from 5.4% and touched a new pandemic low. The jobs report is creating some uncertainty about the monetary-policy plans for the Federal Reserve. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has signaled that the central bank would use employment as a key indicator while it considers the end of its pandemic-era measures to add liquidity to markets.