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U.S. stocks open higher as fresh employment report looms

U.S. stocks open higher as fresh employment report looms
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Investing.com – U.S. stock futures were mostly higher in early trading on Thursday, as investors awaited the release of a highly-anticipated monthly nonfarm payrolls report later this week that could give fresh clues into the Federal Reserve’s future monetary policy path.

By 09:34 ET (14:34 GMT), the benchmark S&P 500 had climbed 0.5%, the 30-stock Dow Jones Industrial Average had moved up by 0.1%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite had risen by 1.0%.

Labor market data in focus

Investors are preparing to closely parse through the remaining batch of labor market numbers this week, including the all-important monthly employment report on Friday.

Data on Thursday showed that the number of Americans who filed for first-time unemployment aid came in at seasonally-adjusted 220,000 last week, marking a slight uptick from 219,000 for the week ended on Nov. 25. Economists had expected a reading of 222,000.

Continuing claims, a proxy for hiring that measures the amount of people receiving benefits after an initial week of aid, dipped to 1.861 million, down from a 1.925 million for the week until Nov. 18. Economists, some of whom have flagged that the figure may not be completely reflective of the underlying state of the labor market due to seasonal fluctuations, were calling for 1.910 million.

On Wednesday, numbers from payroll processor ADP showed that private employers added 103,000 positions in November, falling short of expectations. The data suggested that the Fed’s aggressive campaign of interest rate hikes may be working to cool labor demand, a trend that theoretically could relieve some upward pressure on the policymakers’ ultimate target: elevated inflation.

Any signs of weakening in the jobs picture could subsequently re-enforce predictions that the Fed will soon start to bring interest rates back down from more than two-decade highs.

GameStop quarterly sales miss estimates

In corporate news, GameStop (NYSE:GME) shares were nearly 4% lower after the video game retailer reported lower than anticipated third-quarter revenue.

The company, which was at the center of a surge in excitement amongst retail investors over so-called “meme stocks” in 2021, posted net sales of $1.08 billion in the three months ended on Oct. 28 — a decrease of 9.1% versus the corresponding period last year and below Bloomberg consensus estimates of $1.18B.

Sales dropped in the U.S., Canada and Australia, although these declines were partly offset by revenue growth in Europe.

Stubbornly high price growth and elevated interest rates have recently convinced many shoppers to spend less on gaming products, forcing key industry players to unveil disappointing financial forecasts. Analysts have also flagged that competition from e-commerce behemoths like Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) could eat away at GameStop’s share of the gaming market.

Elsewhere, shares in retail investor-favorite C3.ai (NYSE:AI) slumped by around 10% after the AI application software group guided for a full-year adjusted operating loss of $115 million to $135 million, deeper than its prior forecast of $70 million-$100 million.

Chewy (NYSE:CHWY) shares also dropped sharply. The online pet-care retailer trimmed its annual sales outlook due to inflationary pressures that have dented customer demand.

Oliver Gray contributed to this report.

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Source: Investing.com

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