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Stocks Recover to Post Slight Gains Ahead of Jobs Report

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stocks recovered slight gains after briefly turning lower on Thursday afternoon in nervous trading ahead of the August jobs report due Friday morning. Investors hope they can glean from the report what the labor market situation might mean for the Federal Reserve's rate hike timeline.

The S&P 500 was up 0.41%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.4%, and the Nasdaq added 0.09%.

The jobs report for August will be crucial to any decision in September on interest rates. Economists expect 223,000 jobs to have been added to nonfarm payrolls in the U.S. over the month compared to 215,000 jobs added in July. The unemployment rate is forecast to fall to 5.2% from 5.3%.

"The stakes are unusually high for this employment report, as it will be the last major piece of labor market data before the Fed meets later this month," said Millan Mulraine, deputy chief U.S. macro strategist at TD Securities. "Given the positive momentum in the economy we are reasonably confident that the recent constructive trend in payrolls will be sustained."

Must Read: 10 Big-Name Stocks That Are Already in Correction Territory

Investors have shown nerves recently that the Fed will raise rates in September given the strength of the U.S. economy even as the global economy falters. Fed members will meet on Sept. 16-17. The market-implied probability of a rate hike has fallen below 50% even as economic data continues to support a U.S. recovery.

Weekly jobless claims rose 12,000 to 282,000 in the week ended Aug. 29, the highest level in two months. Economists had expected new claims to climb to 271,000. Claims for unemployment benefits remained under the 300,000 level, extending the longest streak since 2000.

Crude oil closed higher after days of choppy...


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