Market Snapshot: U.S. stocks set to edge back from records ahead of private-sector jobs report

This post was originally published on this site

U.S. stock indexes on Wednesday were indicated slightly lower in the final session of the month and first half of the year. Investors also braced for a batch of economic reports, including a report on private-sector employment due at 8:15 a.m. Eastern Time.

How are stock benchmarks performing?

On Tuesday, the S&P 500

notched its 33rd record close of 2021, adding 1.19 points, or less than 0.1%, to 4,291.80; the Nasdaq Composite Index

advanced 27.83 points, or 0.2%, to a record close of 14,528.33, its 19th record of the year. The Dow

closed up 9.02 points, or less than 0.1%, to 34,292.29.

What’s driving the market?

Stock markets looked to be taking a pause from a rally that has pushed equity indexes to all-time highs on gains in technology and growth stocks. The recent rally has been at least partly fueled by easing fears about the pace of inflation as the economy recovers from the COVID pandemic with benchmark bond yields remaining in a range for several weeks.

Early Wednesday, investors are awaiting a monthly report on U.S. private-sector employment that could set the stage for the more closely followed Labor Department report on Friday.

Automatic Data Processing Inc.

is expected to show that the U.S. added 550,000 private-sector jobs in June, according to a consensus of forecasts from economists surveyed by Dow Jones and MarketWatch, following a 978,000 gain in May.

May’s ADP report was the largest monthly gain since last June 2020 when the economy began to reopen after the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic. However, the ADP data has not always been a good guide to the Labor Department’s broader employment report on a month to month basis, though the overall trends of both data sets correlate over time.

Employment has become a major focus for markets as investors try to determine on how improvements in the labor market could influence the Federal Reserve’s policy plans.

Late Tuesday, Federal Reserve Gov. Christopher Waller told Bloomberg TV that the “unemployment rate would have to drop fairly substantially, or inflation would have to really continue at a very high rate, before we would take seriously a rate hike in 2022,” but added that he is not ruling out such a move, noting that it’s appropriate to think about scaling back the Fed’s monthly purchases of $120 billion in assets, starting with a reduction of $40 billion in mortgage-backed securities.

Separately, investors will watch for a reading of manufacturing activity in the Chicago area, the Chicago purchasing managers index for June, due at 9:45 a.m.

A report on pending home sales due at 10 a.m., will be in focus, as well, coming a day after the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index, showed that prices surged at their fastest pace ever in April, as buyers competed for a limited number of homes.

The national home price index recorded an increase of 14.6% over the past year, representing the highest reading since in the more than 30 years of S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller data. The separate 20-city index, which gauges home prices across a group of major cities across the country, increased at over the past year by 14.9% in April, well past the 13.3% growth recorded the month prior.

Among speakers from the Fed on Wednesday, Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic was set to speak at 8 a.m. Eastern, while Richmond Fed President Tom Barkin was scheduled to speak at 1 p.m., after the policy maker said Tuesday he was pretty optimistic that the U.S. labor market would unclog by the end of summer.

Which companies are in focus?
  • Xometry IncXMTR,, an AI-driven marketplace for on-demand manufacturing, said its initial public offering priced at $44 a share, above its proposed price range of $38 to $42. 

  • IncLZ, said Wednesday its initial public offering priced at $28 a share, above its proposed price range of $24 to $27 each.

  • Broadband provider Wow Internet, Cable & Phone WOW said Wednesday it has entered two agreements to sell five service areas for a total of $1.8 billion. 

  • Torrid Holdings IncCURV, a direct-to-consumer provider of plus-size women’s clothing, upsized its planned initial public offering on Wednesday, with plans to offer 10 million shares priced at $18 to $21 each, up from an earlier plan to offer 8 million shares.