U.S. Stocks May See Early Strength Following Private Sector Jobs Data

Following the lackluster performance seen in the previous session, stocks may move to the upside in early trading on Wednesday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a higher open for the markets, with the S&P 500 futures up by 0.3 percent.

Early buying interest may be generated in reaction to a report from payroll processor ADP showing private sector employment in the U.S. increased by less than expected in the month of November.

ADP said private sector employment rose by 103,000 jobs in November after climbing by a downwardly revised 106,000 jobs in October.

Economists had expected private sector employment to advance by 130,000 jobs compared to the addition of 113,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

“Restaurants and hotels were the biggest job creators during the post-pandemic recovery,” said ADP chief economist Nela Richardson. “But that boost is behind us.”

She added, “The return to trend in leisure and hospitality suggests the economy as a whole will see more moderate hiring and wage growth in 2024.”

The weaker than expected private sector job growth may add to recent optimism the Federal Reserve is done raising interest rates and could cut rates as early as next March.

Potentially adding to the positive sentiment, the Labor Department also released a report showing the decrease in unit labor costs in the third quarter was revised to 1.2 percent from 0.8 percent. The drop in unit labor costs was expected to be revised to 0.9 percent.

The Commerce Department also released a report this morning showing the U.S. trade deficit widened in the month of October.

The Commerce Department said the trade deficit increased to $64.3 billion in October from a revised $61.2 billion in September.

Economists had expected the trade deficit to rise to $64.1 billion from the $61.5 billion originally reported for the previous month.

The wider trade deficit came as the value of exports slumped by 1.0 percent to $258.8 billion, while the value of imports inched up by 0.2 percent to $323.0 billion.

After recovering from an initial move to the downside, stocks showed a lack of direction over the course of the trading session on Tuesday. The major averages spent the day bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line before closing narrowly mixed.

While the tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 44.42 points or 0.3 percent to 14,229.91, the S&P 500 edged down 2.60 points or 0.1 percent to 4,567.18 and the Dow dipped 79.88 points or 0.2 percent to 36,124.56.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Wednesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index surged by 2.0 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index climbed by 0.8 percent.

The major European markets have also moved to the upside on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.5 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index are both up by 0.6 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are sliding $0.74 to $71.58 a barrel after falling $0.72 to $72.32 a barrel on Tuesday. Meanwhile, an ounce of gold is trading at $2,046.90, up $10.60 compared to the previous session’s close of $2,036.30. On Tuesday, gold slipped $5.90.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 147.18 yen compared to the 147.15 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Tuesday. Against the euro, the dollar is trading at $1.0791 compared to yesterday’s $1.0797.

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