December 3, 2023

Looking for Signals, Wall Street Trading Is Choppy

Stocks were lower in afternoon trading on Wall Street Thursday as investors awaited President Obama’s evening speech on jobs.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 74 points, or 0.7 percent, at 11,340. The Standard Poor’s 500-stock index was down 9 points, or 0.8 percent, to 1,190, and the Nasdaq composite fell 15 points, or 0.6 percent, at 2,534.

The price of the 10-year Treasury note rose, with its yield falling to 1.993 percent.

In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was up 0.4 percent at 5,340, while Germany’s DAX was steady at 5,408. The CAC-40 in France was 0.4 percent higher at 3,085.

“Global equity markets are attempting to rebound on building hopes for fresh stimulus from the global authorities to support growth,” said Lee Hardman, an analyst at the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ.

Investors were looking for other signals throughout the day. While both the Bank of England and the European Central Bank kept their interest rates unchanged, President Barack Obama was expected to announce measures to lift job creation in the United States.

Already negative, stocks slid a bit further after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke offered no hints that the central bank may take steps to help the ailing economy. He spoke Thursday afternoon to the Economic Club of Minnesota.

Some investors have anticipated that the Fed would take additional steps to stimulate the economy at its two-day meeting that begins Sept. 21.

The hopes that policymakers will do more to shore up growth, including at a weekend meeting of finance ministers of the Group of Seven industrialized countries, has helped stocks recover over the last couple of days. A German court decision backing the government’s involvement in Europe’s bailouts has also helped calm concerns over the debt crisis ahead of a meeting of euro zone finance ministers next week.

Earlier in the day, Asian shares posted modest gains. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index rose 0.3 percent to close at 8,793.12 as a softening yen helped Japan’s exporters.

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