Stocks churn as investors look ahead to Friday jobs report

Stocks churn as investors look ahead to Friday jobs report

Stocks wavered Thursday as traders awaited Friday’s July jobs report, which will give the latest snapshot on the labor market and the health of the economy.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 141 points, or 0.43%. The S&P 500 fell 0.27% after hitting its highest level since June on Wednesday. The Nasdaq Composite lost 0.06%, pulling back from its highest level since May.

A slight uptick in weekly jobless claims, reported Thursday morning, weighed on investors watching for signs that labor market strength is dwindling. The July jobs report, scheduled to be released Friday, will show how employers hired last month. Economists estimate that the economy added about 250,000 jobs in July, down from 372,000 in June. The jobless rate is forecast to remain 3.6%, according to FactSet.

In addition, investors will get an updated look at inflation data from the July consumer price index report next week.

“I would certainly consider today one of those wait-and-see days while we wait for the most important piece of data that comes out this week,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B. Riley Financial, referring to the Friday jobs report.

Oil prices fell on global recession worries and dragged the energy sector down with it. The sector was the biggest laggard in the S&P 500.

Earnings season continued, with a slew of reports Thursday. Eli Lilly shares fell after the company missed Wall Street’s estimates for its quarterly results and cut its full-year forecast. Shares of Datadog and Lucid also fell after both companies cut future outlooks.

Investors will get another batch of earnings on Thursday. Virgin Galactic, AMC Entertainment and Beyond Meat are scheduled to report after the bell.

Wall Street was coming off a strong session. On Wednesday, the Dow advanced more than 400 points, while the S&P 500 hit its highest level since June. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite jumped about 2.5%.

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