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Stocks Are Slightly Lower in Choppy Jobs-Focused Trading


The looming jobs report had the markets spooked early afternoon Thursday with stocks veering from heavy to slight losses.

The S&P 500 fell just 0.2%, recovering from deeper losses earlier in the session. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.03%, and the Nasdaq declined 0.44%.

Friday's jobs report has taken on added significance as one of the two Federal Reserve will have to analyze before a rates decision is made in December. Chair Janet Yellen said on Wednesday that December meeting remained a "live" possibility for the central bank to raise rates for the first time in nearly a decade.

"I think people are just a little leery of tomorrow's employment report," Robert Pavlik, chief market strategist at Boston Private Wealth, told CNBC. It "looks like the Federal Reserve is probably going to have to move on interest rates in December."

The official jobs report is expected to show 205,000 jobs added to nonfarm payrolls in October, rebounding after two months of weakness. A strong reading could give...