Following the lackluster performance seen in the previous session, stocks may continue to experience choppy trading on Thursday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a roughly flat open for the markets, with the Dow futures up by just 1 point.
Traders may remain reluctant to make significant moves ahead of the release of the Labor Department’s closely watched monthly jobs report on Friday.
The report is expected to show employment climbed by 183,000 jobs in July, while the unemployment rate is expected to dip to 4.3 percent.
A report released by the Labor Department this morning showed a modest decrease in first-time claims for unemployment benefits in the week ended July 29th.
The report said initial jobless claims dipped to 240,000, a decrease of 5,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 245,000.
Economists had expected jobless claims to edge down to 242,000 from the 244,000 originally reported for the previous week.
Shortly after the start of trading, the Institute for Supply Management is scheduled to release its report on activity in the service sector in the month of July.
The non-manufacturing index is expected to edge down to 50.7 in July from 57.4 in June, although a reading above 50 would still indicate growth.
The Commerce Department is also due to release its report on factory orders in the month of June. Factory orders are expected to jump by 2.9 percent.
Overseas, the Bank of England kept its record low interest rate unchanged in a split vote, as expected, and maintained the size of monetary stimulus.
The Monetary Policy Committee, headed by Governor Mark Carney, voted 6 to 2 to keep the interest rate at a historic low of 0.25 percent.
The bank downgraded its economic growth projections for 2017 to 1.7 percent from 1.9 percent and for 2018 to 1.6 percent from 1.7 percent. The outlook for 2019 was maintained at 1.8 percent.
After an initial move to the upside, stocks turned in a relatively lackluster performance over the course of the trading session on Wednesday. The major averages spent much of the day bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line.
The Nasdaq eventually ended the session down 0.29 points or less than a tenth of a percent at 6,362.65, while the Dow rose 52.32 points or 0.2 percent to 22,016.24 and the S&P 500 inched up 1.22 points or 0.1 percent to 2,477.57.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved to the downside during trading on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index and Hong…