U.S. stocks are wobbling as investors look ahead to Friday's jobs report

By Liz Moyer

Investing.com -- U.S. stocks were wobbling as investors look ahead to Friday’s jobs report for November.

At 10:24 ET (15:24 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 7 points, or flat, while the S&P 500 was up 0.1% and the NASDAQ Composite was up 0.1%. All three indexes were down earlier.

Friday’s report is considered a key input for the Federal Reserve, which will meet again in a couple of weeks for its last policy meeting of the year. It is widely expected the Fed will raise rates again, though perhaps by a lower half-percentage point increment than at its last few meetings.

Signs of a softening in the labor market could be one catalyst for a lower rate increase. But officials have been out in public in recent days saying the market is underestimating how much more tightening needs to be done to accomplish the Fed’s goals. 

St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said on Monday that the Fed will have to hold its benchmark rate above 5% into 2024 to achieve its mission. 

Analysts are expecting the economy added 200,000 jobs in November, down from the 261,000 added in October.

On Monday, it was protests in China that spooked markets. Protesters are angry about the government’s strict COVID-19 lockdown policies, and unrest there is sparking concerns about a slowdown in global growth. The three main stock indexes fell about 1.5% as a result. And Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) was down near a three-week low on concerns about iPhone production. Apple was down 0.2% on Tuesday.

Stocks of railroads were in the spotlight on Tuesday after President Joe Biden called on Congress to help avert a national railroad strike. Union Pacific Corporation (NYSE:UNP) shares rose 1.1%, while CSX Corporation (NASDAQ:CSX) shares rose 1.2%.

Oil rose. Crude Oil WTI Futures was up 2.8% to $79.41 a barrel, while Brent Oil Futures crude rose 2.6% to $86.05 a barrel. Gold Futures rose 0.8% to $1,755.

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