Wall Street Staid as Focus Shifts to Jobs Report

Wall Street Staid as Focus Shifts to Jobs Report

US markets on Thursday were trying to claw back ground lost earlier in the day, but remained generally static. Yields on government bonds rose again while and crude oil climbed past $50 a barrel, the highest price since June - a day ahead of a crucial employment report that would show whether the economy is strong enough to absorb an interest rate hike.

In afternoon trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 0.12% and the S&P 500 index was up 0.05%. The Nasdaq was down 0.17%.

A growing number of US Federal Reserve officials have argued for higher rates as the labor market remains solid and inflation inches towards the central bank's 2% target. The view was encouraged by a report that showed the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell to a near 43-year low last week.

Oil climbed above $50 a barrel in New York for the first time since June as declines in US crude inventories and OPEC’s pledge to reduce supply lifted hopes the global glut may clear.Futures increased 1.2% US crude stockpiles shrank below 500M barrels last week for the first time since January, government data show. OPEC pledged in Algiers on Sept. 28 to reduce the group’s output to 32.5M to 33M barrels a day in a bid to shrink the world’s bloated oil supplies and boost prices. The market is set to remain oversupplied in 2017.
 
Twitter stock plunged 20.7% on reports that some companies that had been thought to be interested in buying it would not. Rumors of a deal sent Twitter shares up 33% in recent days. Walmart shares fell 2.6% after the company, the world’s largest retailer, said it expected no earnings per share growth in its next fiscal year and would slow its store expansion plans. Mylan slumped 3.6% after reports that company overcharged Medicaid over five years for its EpiPen allergy treatment.
 
Yum Brands stock fell 1.6% after the company, the parent of KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, reported a quarterly profit and sales that missed Wall Street expectations. The results were hurt in part by protests in China against Western businesses after a court invalidated some of China’s historic claims in the South China Sea.

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