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Kevin Matras   
Profit from the Pros
By Kevin Matras
Executive Vice President
Zacks Investment Research

Stocks End Mixed, All Eyes On This Morning's Employment Report

Stocks ended mixed in a choppy session with the Dow off by -0.26%, the S&P off by -0.08%, while the Nasdaq was up by 0.41%.

We had another fine day of earnings.

And of economic reports.

The Challenger Job-Cut report showed 25,910 layoffs last month vs. the previous month's 32,517.

And Weekly Jobless Claims rose by 6,000 to 260,000, as expected. The 4-week moving average came in at 254.75K.

But the jobs report everybody is really waiting for is this morning's Employment Situation report. That's expected to show 250,000 new jobs were created last month (220K in the private sector and 30K in the public), while the unemployment rate held steady at 3.6%.

This month's report will take on added significance since some have dismissed the weaker GDP numbers last quarter (2nd quarter in a row of negative GDP), as not indicating a recession because of the strong labor market. We've been averaging 375,000 new jobs per month for the last 3 months. While nobody is expecting that this month (again, the consensus is for 250K), a strong showing will be needed to keep that narrative alive.

We'll also get more earnings today with another 169 companies set to report.

With one more trading day to go, both the S&P and Nasdaq are on pace to close higher for the week, making it 3 weeks in a row if they do. The Dow is just 0.36% away from a higher close as well. So they won't need much to get over that threshold, which would mark their 3rd week in a row as well.

But the main event today will be the Employment report. And that comes out at 8:30 AM ET.


Kevin Matras

Executive Vice President, Zacks Investment Research


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