U.S. stocks bounced around in a choppy session ending the day lower as traders digested the latest jobs data and continued to weigh the prospect of the Federal Reserve raising interest rates faster than expected to cool inflation.
St. Louis Fed President James Bullard, in a speech, said the first rate hike could be in March.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost over 170 points or 0.5%, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite slipped 0.10% and 0.13%, respectively. Both curbed the majority of losses during the session.
|I:DJI||DOW JONES AVERAGES||36236.47||-170.64||-0.47%|
|I:COMP||NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX||15080.864828||-19.31||-0.13%|
Humana fell after cutting its outlook for Medicare enrollment, United Health fell in sympathy. Travelers and Disney posted gains.
|UNH||UNITEDHEALTH GROUP INC.||469.54||-20.32||-4.15%|
|TRV||THE TRAVELERS COS. INC.||162.33||+2.56||+1.60%|
|DIS||THE WALT DISNEY CO.||156.87||+1.57||+1.01%|
Oil briefly hit the $80 per barrel level giving ExxonMobil and Chevron a boost.
|USO||UNITED STATES OIL FUND L.P.||56.89||+1.46||+2.63%|
|XOM||EXXON MOBIL CORP.||68.32||+1.58||+2.37%|
On the economic calendar, weekly jobless claims rose by 207,000, above the estimate of 195,000 and slightly higher than the prior week’s 198,000.
On Friday U.S. employers are expected to have created 400,000 new nonfarm jobs last month, almost double November’s much weaker-than-expected tally of 210,000. The unemployment rate is anticipated to fall to 4.1%.
In stocks, Facebook bucked ongoing selling among large-cap tech players including Google, Amazon and Apple.
|FB||META PLATFORMS INC.||332.46||+8.29||+2.56%|
Bed Bath & Beyond continues to struggle with its turnaround. Comp sales dropped 7% in the latest quarter. Still, the shares gained.
|BBBY||BED BATH & BEYOND INC.||14.43||+1.06||+7.97%|
Elsewhere in retail, Walgreen’s boosted its annual forecast as it benefits from COVID-19 vaccines and at-home testing kit sales.
|WBA||WALGREENS BOOTS ALLIANCE INC.||52.44||-1.56||-2.89%|
|CVS||CVS HEALTH CORP.||102.58||-3.25||-3.07%|
Ford and GM shares recovered losses from the previous session.
|GM||GENERAL MOTORS CO.||62.88||+0.16||+0.26%|
|F||FORD MOTOR CO.||24.45||+0.80||+3.36%|
In cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin slipped hit the $42K level before inching up.
Ken Martin and The Associated Press contributed to this report.