US stocks end flat ahead of jobs report
NEW YORK–Wall Street equities finished little changed Thursday as investors took stock of mixed US economic data and awaited Friday’s US jobs report.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 12.69 points (0.08 percent) at 16,272.01.
The broad-based S&P 500 rose 3.79 (0.20 percent) to 1,923.82, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 6.92 (0.15 percent) to 4,627.08.
Stocks spent much of the day in the red, but the S&P 500 and Nasdaq managed to push back into positive territory late in the session.
A reading on US manufacturing activity showed near-flat activity in September, while construction spending rose to a seven-year high in August.
Analysts expect Friday’s jobs report will show the US economy added 205,000 jobs in September and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.1 percent, a seven-year low.
Pharmaceutical stocks continued to rally, with Allergan rising 3.9 percent, Dow member Pfizer 1.4 percent and Celgene 4.3 percent.
General Motors rose 2.2 and Ford 0.7 percent after both companies reported September auto sales that bested expectations.
Amazon rose 1.7 percent after announcing a new venture with CBS to make Amazon the exclusive subscription service provider for three new CBS series. CBS dropped 1.1 percent.
Food giant ConAgra added 1 percent on news it will cut 1,500 jobs and relocate its headquarters from Omaha, Nebraska, to Chicago.
Spicemaker McCormick & Co. fell 4.3 percent as third-quarter net income tumbled 20.6 percent to $97.6 million.
Dunkin’ Brands Group, parent of baked goods and coffee chain Dunkin’ Donuts, slumped 12.2 percent after estimating 2015 comparable sales growth at 1.0-3.0 percent at US Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants. Barclays had projected an increase of 3-4 percent.
Illumina, which develops technology for genetic testing, fell 10.6 percent following a downgrade from Leerink Partners.
The flat session on Wall Street came a day after the stock markets closed a dismal third quarter on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 losing 6.9 percent to register its worst three-month stretch in four years.
Bond prices were unchanged from Wednesday. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury was 2.04 percent, while the 30-year was at 2.86 percent. Bond prices and yields move inversely.
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