By Isabel Wang and Frances Yue
U.S. stock indexes ended modestly lower on Wednesday, despite briefly turning positive in the final hour of trading, while data showed steady growth in private-sector jobs and in the service sector, indicating more scope for the Federal Reserve to continue to raise interest rates.
How stocks traded?
The Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +2.18% lost 42.45 points, or 0.1%, to finish at 30,273.87
The S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +3.09% was off 7.65 points, or 0.2%, ending at 3,783.28
The Nasdaq Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP +4.41% shed 27.77 points, or 0.2%, to end at 11,148.64
On Tuesday, the Dow jumped 825 points, or 2.8%, while the S&P 500 increased 3.1% and the Nasdaq Composite rallied 3.3%.
What drove markets?
Wall Street stocks finished in the red after three main indexes bounced back from earlier losses in the final hour of trade, following a strong September private employment report in the morning.
Data released Wednesday showed that private-sector payrolls rose by 208,000 in September , indicating steady growth and supporting the view that the Fed has enough scope to keep raising interest rates. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected a rise of 200,000.
The report came two days before the closely watched nonfarm payrolls data issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Investors are eying on it for important guidance on the Fed’s policy stance in the November meeting.
Friday’s employment report is expected to show the economy added 275,000 jobs in September, compared with 315,000 new positions added in August, according to a survey polled by Dow Jones.
“That certainly could move the needle,” said Kristina Hooper, chief global market strategist at Invesco. “Again, it doesn’t mean that it actually is going to change the market, but it could be the catalyst for short term rally if we get a disappointing jobs report.”
“But keep in mind, that’s just the anticipation of a Fed pivot based on data. But that does not ensure a Fed pivot. And so it could be one of those short-term rallies like the one we saw earlier this week,” Hooper said.
In other data Wednesday, an ISM barometer of U.S. business conditions in the service sector dipped to 56.7% in September but still showed steady growth and rising employment in a sign the economy is still expanding.
The U.S. trade deficit in August fell to $67.4 billion, the lowest level since mid 2021, paving the way for a resumption of growth in gross domestic product in the third quarter.