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By Jason Stipp | 09-04-2015 09:00 AM

Friday Five: Fed's Hand Won't Be Forced

August's job report was strong enough to keep a September rate hike on the table, but not so strong to ensure it. Plus, market finds a sell-off excuse in China, automaker opportunities, and more.

Jason Stipp: I'm Jason Stipp for Morningstar. Welcome to The Friday Five, Morningstar's take on five stories in the market this week. Joining me with The Friday Five is Morningstar markets editor Jeremy Glaser.

Jeremy, thanks for being here.

Jeremy Glaser: You're welcome, Jason.

Stipp: At 173,000 jobs added in August, the employment report was not the disaster that past August reports have been. What's your first read on that?

Glaser: It wasn't a disaster at all. It was below that 220,000 jobs that analysts were expecting but was right in line with what Morningstar's Bob Johnson was expecting at 175,000. You look at the upward revisions to previous months, and you look at the decline in the unemployment rate, and overall, it was a decent report.

The reason that we're especially interested in this report was that it's the last piece of information that the Fed is going to get before their September meeting next week. And the question is, "Is the Fed going to raise rates?"

I don't think we got a lot of new information here. It's strong enough that if they wanted to raise rates in September, I think they still can, but it's not so strong that it's going to force their hand. So I think next week, is still going to be anyone's guess if they're going to raise rates or not.

Stipp: The markets were down after the jobs report was announced on Friday. Earlier in the week, though, it seemed like China was again troubling the markets. What was it this time?

Glaser: Manufacturing data showed that some of the large companies are moving into contractionary territory. This is another piece of data that, again, shouldn't be a huge surprise. It didn't come out of the blue that the Chinese manufacturing sector was slowing. These indexes have been trending down for quite some time now.

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