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US stocks’ slump continues, equities near flatline


The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended just above the flatline, while the benchmark S&P 500 dropped around 0.3%, and the Nasdaq Composite dropped around 0.6% below the flatline by the close

US stocks’ recent slump continued on Thursday, as equities struggled to shake off a weak start to the year and Fed policymakers left hopes for an early interest rate cut hanging.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended just above the flatline, while the benchmark S&P 500 dropped around 0.3%. After a Wednesday sell-off, the Nasdaq Composite pushed for gains at points in the session, but dropped around 0.6% below the flatline by the close.

Investors looking for confirmation of bets on a March rate cut got uncertainty instead in the Fed minutes released Wednesday. While officials agreed rates had reached a peak and should be down by the end of 2024, some hinted that they could stay at their historically high levels “for some time” depending on the path of inflation.

In single stock moves, Apple stock dropped for a fourth day as Wall Street highlighted concerns about weakening iPhone demand.

Multiple data points released Thursday morning showed the labor market remains intact while wages continue to cool, a welcome sign in the fight against inflation.

The latest ADP employment report showed private firms added 164,000 jobs in the month of December, above November’s reading of 103,000 and higher than analysts’ expectations for 115,000 additions.

Elsewhere, the Department of Labor reported that 202,000 jobless claims were filed last week, below economist estimates for 216,000.

In the meantime, US bond yields returned to gains, with the 10-year Treasury yield edging closer to 4% after dropping from that level on Wednesday.

Investors will now turn to the December jobs report. The monthly labor report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, slated for release at 1:30 pm GMT, is expected to show nonfarm payrolls increased by 175,000 in December while the unemployment rate rose to 3.8% from the prior month, as per consensus estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

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