Stocks Fall Ahead of the Major Jobs Report: Stock Market News Today

US stocks fell on Thursday, with technology stocks leading the Nasdaq index lower than other indices, after new data indicated a gradual softening of labor market conditions ahead of the highly anticipated jobs report on Friday.

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

“Volumes are expected to remain muted as we enter the weekend,” JPMorgan’s US market intelligence team said in a note. Both the stock and bond markets will be closed on Good Friday, April 7.

Government bond yields were mixed. The yield on the 10-year note rose slightly, while the two-year rate-sensitive yield was unchanged Thursday morning.

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

Crude Oil (CL=F) continues to hover around $80 a barrel, and hasn’t changed much after the big gains that started the week. At the same time, gas prices across the country rose to a five-month high, above $3.50 a gallon, according to Data from AAA. The jump comes at a time when the OPEC + alliance decided, in a surprising decision at the end of last week, to cut oil production.

Meanwhile, US jobless claims rose by 228 thousand for the week ending April 1, Data reported by the Ministry of Labor, above 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 upward for the week ending March 18th, from 1.689 million to 1.823 million.

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This comes after a report Wednesday from private payroll 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.

That number was well below consensus estimates of 210,000 and less than the 261,000 revised jobs gained in February. However, market strategists say it is unclear whether the ADP results presage a softer non-farm payroll report on Friday.

BOSTON, MA – FEBRUARY 24: An employee works in the kitchen at Democracy Brewing. Restaurants implement a “kitchen fee” with the goal of narrowing the wage gap between the wages of tipped and non-tipped workers. (Photo by David L. Ryan/Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Economists polled by Bloomberg expect Friday’s jobs report to show 240,000 jobs last month. That would be well below the average of 343,000 job gains over the past six months.

In additional jobs data earlier this week, the government’s Job Opportunities and Employment Turnover Survey (JOLTS) found that job openings fell more than expected to 9.931 million, the first time the number has fallen below 10 million since May 2021.

The gradual slowdown in the labor market may be encouraging for policymakers. Some investors are maintaining a “fairly dovish path” from the Fed over the coming months.

Jim Reed and his colleagues at Deutsche Bank wrote in a note to clients.

Meanwhile, Loretta Mester, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, said on Wednesday that she expects rates to rise.

“Determining how much the federal funds rate needs to rise from here and for how long policy stays constrained will depend on how low inflation and inflation expectations are,” Mester said. letter at Money Marketeers at New York University.

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

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

Shares of CrowdStrike Holdings, Inc. fell. (CRWD) Thursday morning after an investor day on Tuesday during which he hinted at a short-term uptick in medium-term growth and earnings expectations.

Shares of AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. rose. (AMC) in pre-market trading after the Delaware District Court ruled against the stock transfer settlement.

Shares of Constellation Brands (STZ) rose after the company reported results that beat analyst expectations and increased its quarterly earnings.

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

Danny Romero, Yahoo Finance correspondent. Follow her on Twitter @tweet

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