U.S. stocks traded mostly higher Thursday, resuming the upward trend for the month so far, ahead of Friday’s key jobs report.
The major averages struggled to hold opening gains, briefly dipping into negative territory soon after the open.
Shares of Facebook gained more than 6 percent. The social media giant reported earnings after Wednesday’s close that beat on both the top and bottom line.
“Today we’re just biding our time until our report tomorrow,” said John Caruso, senior market strategist at RJO Futures.
“Tomorrow is a pretty pivotal number,” he said. “I think it’s going to be a lukewarm number. I don’t think we’re going to see any surprises. It’s going to keep everybody guessing.”
Ahead of Friday’s report on October nonfarm payrolls, weekly jobless claims came in at 276,000, above expectations.
Third-quarter productivity increased at a 1.6 percent annual rate, while labor costs rose 1.4 percent.
U.S. layoffs fell 14 percent in October from the prior month, a 1.3 percent decrease year-over-year, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
The U.S. dollar traded flat against major world currencies, with the euro slightly higher near $1.088 and the yen at 121.69 yen against the greenback.
Crude oil traded slightly lower after falling more than 3 percent Wednesday.
Adam Sarhan, CEO of Sarhan Capital, pointed to some support for U.S. equities from positive momentum in overseas markets.
China’s Shanghai composite closed nearly 2 percent higher Thursday, bringing the index more than 20 percent above its recent low touched on Aug. 26. The composite remains more than 30 percent below its 52-week high hit in June.
The Nikkei closed 1 percent higher.
European stocks held mostly higher, after the Bank of England kept rates unchanged. The German DAX outperformed.
Investors will also eye more comments from Fed policymakers.
However, analysts said Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s comments and the forthcoming jobs report are most important.
“If anything way out of the ordinary, sure (markets will react), but otherwise it’ll be more the same,” Sarhan said.
On Wednesday, Yellen reiterated the possibility of raising rates in December, given supportive data.
New York Fed President William Dudley, separately said in a Reuters report that he would “completely agree” with Yellen on a December hike.
Qualcomm — Qualcomm posted adjusted quarterly profit of 91 cents per share, beating estimates by 5 cents, with revenue also exceeding forecasts. However, the chipmaker gave a current quarter outlook considerably below analyst forecasts, on increasing competition from overseas rivals.
Disney, Kraft Heinz, Monster Beverage, News Corp., Nvidia, Symantec, TripAdvisor, Dreamworks Animation, and Shake Shack are among the companies reporting after the close.
The S&P 500 traded up 1 point, or 0.04 percent, at 2,103, with information technology leading five sectors higher and energy the greatest laggard.
The Nasdaq gained 3 points, or 0.07 percent, to 5,146.
Decliners were a touch ahead of advancers on the New York Stock Exchange, with an exchange volume of 64 million and a composite volume of 173 million in the open.
Crude oil futures for December delivery fell 34 cents to $45.97 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold futures gained 60 cents to $1,106.80 an ounce as of 9:46 a.m.