“Everyone’s worried about a potential deterioration in the labor market. Another strong weekly claims number is a good thing,” said Randy Frederick, managing director of trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab. “The biggest challenge is even if we knew what was going to happen but we don’t know how the market is going to react”
“There’s a whole group of mixed opinion out there, whether good (economic data) is good or good is bad,” he said.
U.S. stocks trended lower in the last few weeks as investors sought to determine when the Federal Reserve would find enough economic indicators that would support a short-term interest rate hike.
“I think the equity market here is stuck in a range,” said David O’Malley, CEO of Penn Mutual Asset Management. “I think we have to get more certainty about what’s happening with the Fed.”
Investors also continued to eye Greek negotiations with the euro zone while also setting up for the upcoming nonfarm payroll numbers.
Friday’s labor market report is expected to show an increase in nonfarm payrolls of around 250,000 in March, to leave the unemployment rate unchanged at a more-than six-and-a-half-year low of 5.5 percent. Investors will also watch for wage growth.
“The market (thinks) employment is pretty good. Really what can happen there is be disappointed. Really we need some more strength in other indicators and continued strength in employment because I think good employment is priced into the market,” O’Malley said.
The Challenger job cut report showed U.S. employers announced 36,594 layoffs last month, down 27.6 percent from February, but up 6.4 percent from March 2014.
Nevertheless, Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst at The Lindsey Group, said “there’s definitely risk to the number after the ADP report came in weaker than expected.” “If it’s good, it will be interesting to see [what happens], because it would raise the possibility of a Fed rate hike.”
|DJIA||Dow Jones Industrial Average||17763.24||
|S&P 500||S&P 500 Index||2066.96||
|NASDAQ||Nasdaq Composite Index||4886.94||