Stocks fall ahead of key jobs report: Stock news today

U.S. stocks fell on Thursday, with tech stocks leading the Nasdaq lower than other indexes, after fresh data pointed to a gradual softening of labor market conditions ahead of Friday’s much-anticipated jobs report.

At the open, the S&P 500 (^GSPC) fell 0.4%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) fell 0.2%. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) fell 0.6%.

“Volumes are expected to remain muted as we head into the holiday weekend,” the US market intelligence team at JPMorgan said in a note. The stock and bond markets will both close on Good Friday 7. April.

The yield on government bonds was mixed. The interest rate on the 1[ads1]0-year note was up slightly, while interest-sensitive two-year yields were unchanged on Thursday morning.

On the commodity front, gold futures (GC=F) are shining right now after the metal managed to breach the $2,000 per ounce barrier on the back of weak US economic data, as well as hopes that the Fed will raise interest rates more slowly.

Crude oil (CL=F) continues to hover around $80 a barrel, little changed after big gains to start the week. At the same time, gas prices across the country have risen to five-month highs, surpassing $3.50 a gallon, according to data from AAA. The jump comes as the OPEC+ coalition, in a surprise decision last weekend, decided to cut oil production.

Meanwhile, claims for US jobless benefits rose by 228,000 for the week ended April 1, Labor Department data reported, higher than the consensus estimate of 200,000. The previous week was revised up to 246,000 given the government’s updated seasonal factors. Continuing claims were also revised up for the week ending March 18 from 1.689 million to 1.823 million.

This comes after a report Wednesday from private payrolls firm ADP showed employers added 145,000 jobs in March as the labor market showed signs of slowing from its strong pace so far this year.

This number was well below consensus estimates of 210,000 and lower than the revised 261,000 jobs gained in February. But market strategists say it’s unclear whether ADP’s results foreshadow a softer nonfarm payrolls report on Friday.

Stocks fall ahead of key jobs report: Stock news today

Boston, MA – February 24: An employee works in the kitchen at Democracy Brewing. Restaurants implementing “kitchen fees”, intended to reduce the gap between wages for tipped and non-tipped workers. (Photo by David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expect Friday’s jobs report to show 240,000 jobs were created last month. This will be significantly lower than the average job increase of 343,000 over the past six months.

In more jobs data earlier this week, the government’s Survey of Job Openings and Labor Turnover (JOLTS) found that openings declined more than expected to 9.931 million, marking the first time the number fell below 10 million since May 2021.

The gradual slowdown in the labor market may be encouraging for decision-makers. Some investors maintain “a fairly dovish path” from the Fed over the coming months.

“For example, at the next meeting in May, the odds of a rate hike according to futures remained at 47%, after being as high as 70% earlier in the week,” Jim Reid and colleagues at Deutsche Bank wrote in a note to clients .

Meanwhile, Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester said Wednesday that she predicts interest rates will need to be raised.

“Exactly how much higher federal funds rates need to go from here and how long policy needs to remain restrictive will depend on how much inflation and inflation expectations come down,” Mester said in a speech at the Money Marketeers of New York University.

In individual stock moves, Costco Wholesale Corporation ( COST ) shares fell after the retailer reported weaker-than-expected March sales amid a slowdown in consumer discretionary spending.

Shares of Palantir Technologies Inc. ( PLTR ) fell after the company expanded its cloud computing partnership with Microsoft to government agencies.

CrowdStrike Holdings, Inc. (CRWD) shares were lower on Thursday morning after an investor day on Tuesday that suggested near-term growth and a mid-term earnings outlook.

Shares of AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. (AMC) rose in premarket trading after Delaware’s Court of Chancery ruled against the stock conversion settlement.

Constellation Brands ( STZ ) shares rose after the company reported results that beat analysts’ expectations and increased its quarterly dividend.

On the earnings front, WD-40 (WDFC), Levi’s (LEVI), Lamb Weston (LW) and RPM (RPM) are set to report earnings on Thursday.

Dani Romero is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @daniromerotv

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