The stock markets in the United States fluctuated and eventually declined except the Russell 2000, up by 0.03% today. Market observers suggested that investors are cautious in trading as they wait for the jobs report from the Department of Labor.

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Yesterday, the ADP Research Institute reported that U.S. companies added 182,000 jobs in October, a sign that the labor market is improving steadily.

Department of Labor is scheduled to report its jobs report on Friday. Today, the agency reported that the number of people who applied for unemployment benefits increased by 16,000 to 276,000 for the week ended October 31.

Thomas Costerg, a senior U.S. economist at Standard Chartered Bank, told Bloomberg, “We’re still at very healthy levels. Jobless claims suggest the labor market is quite close to full employment.”

[drizzle]Investors are focusing their attention on the data to determine whether the U.S. economy could withstand an interest rate hike. Federal Reserve Chairperson Janet Yellen said a December rate hike remains a “lively possibility.”

Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities, said, “The only thing that’s certain today is that there are going to be significant price swings in both directions. If the implications from the jobs report tomorrow do imply a December rate hike, it could weigh on the market. The Valeant debacle continues to weigh on health-care.”

Arthur Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities, commented, “The mild pullback over the past two days is probably more due to a quiet consolidation after a big run-up over the previous few weeks. It’s normal and healthy for the market at this point.”

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) – 17, 863.43 (-0.02%)
  • S&P 500- 2,099.93 (-0.11%)
  • NASDAQ- 5,127.74 (-0.29%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,190.71 (+0.03%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,447.49 (+0.24%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,364.90(-0.75%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 10,887.74 (+0.39%)

Asia-Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 19,116.41 (+1.00%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 23,051.04 (-0.01%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 3,705.97 (+2.13%)

Stocks in Focus

The stock price of Facebook reached an all-time high at $110.65 per share today, but closed art$108.76 per share, up by more than 4%. The social network giant benefited from its strong financial results for the third quarter. Some analysts increased their price targets on the shares of Facebook.

Ralph Lauren surged nearly 15% to $130.50 per share. The company reported third-quarter earnings that beat the consensus estimate of Wall Street analysts. Its earnings were $2.13 per share, higher than the $1.78 per share consensus estimate.

Valeant Pharmaceuticals declined more than 14% to $78.75 per share due to speculations that one of its largest investors sold out its stake in the company. A report from the Wall Street Journal indicated that Bill Ackman said Michael Pearson can’t be a CEO if he “hides on the bunker” amid the allegations against the company. Following the reports, Ackman stated he remains confident in Pearson’s leadership.

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