U.S. Stocks May Lack Direction Ahead Of Monthly Jobs Data

U.S. Stocks May Lack Direction Ahead Of Monthly Jobs Data

October 13, 2022

After ending yesterday’s trading modestly lower, stocks may show a lack of direction in early trading on Thursday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a roughly flat open for the markets, with the S&P 500 futures unchanged.

Traders may be reluctant to make significant moves ahead of the release of the Labor Department’s closely watched monthly jobs report on Friday.

Economists currently expect employment to jump by 250,000 jobs in September after surging by 315,000 jobs in August, while the unemployment rate is expected to hold at 3.7 percent.

The strength of the jobs data may impact expectations regarding when the Federal Reserve will begin to scale back its aggressive interest rate hikes.

Futures pared earlier losses after the Labor Department released a separate report showing first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits rebounded by more than expected in the week ended October 1st.

The report said initial jobless claims climbed to 219,000, an increase of 29,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 190,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to inch up to 200,000 from the 193,000 originally reported for the previous week.

The revised figure for the previous week reflects the lowest number of jobless claims since the week ended April 23rd.

Traders may view the report as a sign the monthly data will come in below expectations, putting pressure on the Fed to alter its plans.

Stocks staged a significant recovery attempt after pulling back sharply in early trading on Wednesday but still ended the day modestly lower. The major averages gave back ground after moving sharply higher to start the week.

The major averages pulled back going into the close, finishing the session in negative territory. The Dow edged down 42.45 points or 0.1 percent to 30,273.87, the Nasdaq fell 27.77 points or 0.3 percent to 11,148.64 and the S&P 500 dipped 7.65 points or 0.2 percent to 3,783.28.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index advanced by 0.7 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slid by 0.4 percent.

Meanwhile, European stocks have moved mostly lower on the day. While the German DAX Index is nearly unchanged, the French CAC 40 Index is down by 0.5 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is down by 0.8 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are inching up $0.11 to $87.87 a barrel after jumping $1.24 to $87.76 a barrel on Wednesday. Meanwhile, after falling $9.70 to $1,720.80 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are creeping up $4.20 to $1,725 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 144.70 yen versus the 144.64 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Wednesday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $0.9872 compared to yesterday’s $0.9884.

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