Stocks turn as investors anticipate Friday’s jobs report

Stocks faltered on Thursday as traders awaited Friday’s July jobs report, which will provide the latest insight into the labor market and the health of the economy.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 79 points, or 0.24%. The S&P 500 fell 0.07% after hitting its highest level since June on Wednesday. The Nasdaq Composite gained 0.30%.

An uptick in weekly jobless claims, reported Thursday morning, weighed on investors watching for signs of a weakening labor market. The July jobs report, due out on Friday, will show how employers hired last month. Economists estimate the economy added about 250,000 jobs in July, down from 372,000 in June. The unemployment rate is expected to remain at 3.6%, according to FactSet.

Additionally, investors will get an updated look at inflation data from the July Consumer Price Index report next week.

“I would definitely consider today one of those days of waiting while we wait for the most important data to come out this week,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B. Riley Financial, referring to the Friday jobs. report.

Oil prices fell on global recession worries and dragged down the energy sector. The sector was the biggest laggard on the S&P 500.

The earnings season continued, with a slew of reports on Thursday. Shares of Eli Lilly fell after the company missed Wall Street estimates for its quarterly results and cut its full-year guidance. Shares of Datadog and Lucid also fell after both companies cut their future outlook.

Investors will receive another batch of income on Thursday. Virgin Galactic, AMC Entertainment and Beyond Meat are expected to report after the bell.

Wall Street was coming out of a solid session. On Wednesday, the Dow Jones advanced more than 400 points, while the S&P 500 hit its highest level since June. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite jumped about 2.5%.

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