Dow Jones Industrial Average Edges Higher Ahead of Jobs Report

Is This Fast Food Stock About to Blow Up?

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Mar 3, 2016 at 4:18 PM
Updated on Jun 24, 2020 at 10:16 AM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) traded in a narrow range on both sides of breakeven, as traders took a wait-and-see approach on stocks ahead of tomorrow's highly anticipated nonfarm payrolls report. However, the Dow ultimately settled slightly higher, with help from a rally in the energy sector. It was a busy day on the economic front, with the ISM services index slipping less than forecast, factory orders bouncing back by their biggest margin in seven months, and jobless claims unexpectedly increasing. Also in Wall Street's crosshairs was Dallas Fed President Rob Kaplan, who said the central bank "needs to show patience in decisions to remove accommodation."


Continue reading for more on today's market, including
:

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA - 16,943.90) notched its third straight daily win, adding 44.6 points, or 0.3%, to end just off a session high. Half of the Dow's 30 components settled above breakeven, with Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT) pacing the gainers on a 3.4% advance. On the flip side, McDonald's Corporation (NYSE:MCD) led 15 blue-chip stocks lower, giving up 1.5%.

A late-day surge helped the S&P 500 Index (SPX - 1,993.40) finish in the black, on a nearly 7-point, or 0.4%, gain. Likewise, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,707.42) added 4 points, or 0.1%.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 16.70) dropped 0.4 point, or 2.3%, to notch yet another 2016 closing low.

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5 Items on Our Radar Today:

  1. Jobless claims rose by 6,000 last week to 278,000, bucking expectations of a slide to 271,000. However, it was the 52nd straight week in which the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits held below 300,000 -- the longest streak since the early 1970s. (Reuters, via CNBC)

  2. According to the Labor Department, nonfarm productivity contracted at a 2.2% annual clip during the fourth quarter -- an improvement over the negative 3% pace reported in February. Meanwhile, unit labor costs unexpectedly fell to a 3.3% rate from a prior reading of 4.5%. (Reuters, via CNBC)

  3. Bearish betting has been ramping up on Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR). 

  4. How pre-earnings bulls may have gotten burnt by this big-box retailer.  

  5. Why these three stocks could make major moves tomorrow.

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Data courtesy of Trade-Alert

Commodities:

Despite posting early gains, crude futures ended the day slightly lower for their first loss in four sessions, pressured by concerns about growing U.S. stockpiles. At the close, April-dated oil settled 9 cents, or 0.3%, lower at $34.57 per barrel.

Gold rallied on a weaker dollar and a relatively unimpressive batch of economic reports. By day's end, gold for April delivery was up $16.40, or 1.3%, at $1,258.20 -- its highest settlement price in over a year.


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