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ASX faces modest loss after underwhelming US jobs report triggers 4th day of declines on Wall Street

The ASX is poised to start with a small loss of around 12 points this morning, following the cooler than expected US jobs report for July, which left Wall Street underwhelmed and down for a 4th consecutive day.

After opening flat on Friday, the ASX 200 dipped into the red at midday but eventually closed the session 0.2% or 13.6 points higher at 7325.3 points. However, it still recorded a 1% decline over the week.

Shares of ANZ Group and Suncorp rose 0.8% and 0.6%, respectively, after announcing their intention to challenge the competition regulator’s decision to block a $A4.9 billion deal.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite both fell for a fourth straight session, marking their worst weeks since March, as traders sought to book profits following the latest corporate earnings releases and US jobs data.

The S&P 500 shed 0.53% to finish at 4,478.03, while the Nasdaq slipped 0.36% to settle at 13,909.24. The Dow lost 150.27 points, or 0.43%, ending the week at 35,065.62.

All the major indexes reversed earlier gains in afternoon trading, concluding the week with losses. The Nasdaq dropped 2.9%, while the S&P 500 lost 2.3%, marking the worst week since March. The Dow eased 1.1%.

Amazon shares rose 8.3% on Friday after reporting a strong June quarter, but Apple shares fell 4.8% after its third consecutive quarterly report, despite an 8% rise in services revenue, which came as a big surprise.

Earnings reports for the quarter ending in June have continued to surprise some Wall Street analysts, as the expected slowdown in profits proved less severe than feared. About 84% of S&P 500 companies have released results, with 80% of those surpassing Wall Street expectations, according to FactSet.

The S&P 500 index is up 16.6% year-to-date, thanks to an improving economic outlook, excitement over developments in artificial intelligence, and signs that the Federal Reserve is nearing the end of its interest rate hikes.

The most significant influence last week, however, was the shock move by Fitch to cut the US credit rating to AA+ from AAA. While most US commentators, analysts, brokers, and politicians criticized the decision and its timing, the move stood out as the most unexpected news for the week.

It has refocused attention on the political infighting in Washington and on Donald Trump and his potential destabilising behaviour over the next 18 months, leading up to and after the 2024 elections.