The stock markets fluctuated and eventually ended the trading session down today as investors remained cautious although the number of people claiming unemployment benefits is near decade lows.

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The Department of Labor reported that the number of people who applied for unemployment benefits was 277,000 for the week ended September 27. Bloomberg noted that the four-week moving average for jobless claims declined to the lowest level in almost two months, and the total number of people receiving unemployment benefits was the lowest in 15 years.

The agency is expected to report that the economy added around 200,000 jobs in September based on Bloomberg’s survey. The Department of Labor its expected to release its jobs report on Friday.

Tom Simons, an economist at Jefferies, commented, “Layoff activity remains modest. Labor-market conditions are pretty tight. The slack continues to decline.”

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Yesterday, the equity markets recorded significant gains but failed to maintain that momentum. Matt Maley, an equity strategist at Miller Tabak & Co, said, “After this big rally we had yesterday, I think people want to sit and see what happens. We’ve got the employment number tomorrow. The bottoms following those bad Septembers usually come in October. People are going to sit on the sidelines a little bit longer until they get some more clarification.”

Federal Reserve officials are confident that the U.S. economy is strong enough to withstand higher interest rates this year. However, investors remain concern regarding the slowing Chinese economy. Investors were also confused by the central banks mixed messages on interest rates given its hesitation to raise the borrowing cost last month due to the recent global market rout and China weakening economy.

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) – 16, 272.01 (-0.08%)
  • S&P 500- 1,923.82 (+0.20%)
  • NASDAQ- 4,627.08 (+0.15%)
  • Russell 2000- 1096.17 (-0.41%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,069.05 (+1.02%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,072.47 (+0.18%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 9,509.25 (+1.57%)

Asia-Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 17,722.42 (+1.92%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 20,846.30 (+1.41%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 3,202.95 (+0.76%)

Stocks in Focus

The stock price of Joy Global declined more than 4% to $14.32 per share. The mining equipment manufacturer is the worst performer in the S&P 500 index. Verisk Analytics is replacing Joy Global in the S&P 500. The company lost almost 60% of its stock value year-to-date.

Sarepta Therapeutics surged more than 22% to $39.28 per share. The company announced positive clinical outcomes from its eteplirsen phase 2b program, which showed a significant 6-minute walk test advantage of 151 meters in the ability of participants to a walk at three years. The fourth muscle biopsy results also confirmed increased dystrophin production in nearly all eteplirsen-treated patients and exon skipping in 100 percent of patients.

The stock value of Tyler Technologies climbed more than 10% to $164.39 per share. The company agreed to acquire New World Systems Corporation for $670 million in cash and stock.

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