NEW YORK, March 9 — Wall Street stocks picked up today as traders await official jobs data that is set to inform the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate decision at an upcoming policymakers’ meeting this month.
Fed Chair Jerome Powell noted in testimony to a Senate committee this week that “the labor market remains extremely tight” despite a slowdown in growth while the central bank raises rates to ease demand and fight inflation.
But latest indicators suggest the world’s biggest economy is not cooling as quickly as policymakers hope.
While jobless claims rose more than anticipated according to the Labor Department today, in a potential sign of weakness in the data, analysts note that layoffs remain low and job growth strong for now.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.4 per cent to 32,931.54 shortly after trading started.
The broad-based S&P 500 Index rose 0.3 per cent to 4,004.94, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.3 per cent to 11,607.50.
On Wednesday, payroll firm ADP said that in February, private sector employment surged by 242,000 jobs, significantly higher than January’s figure.
“The market and the Fed and the entire world actually are struggling to figure out how inflation is going to come down,” said Adam Sarhan of 50 Park Investments.
“Until the market or the Fed can figure out a path to getting inflation back down to two per cent, we have to expect a lot of this choppy tug of war between the bulls and the bear action to continue on Wall Street,” he said. — AFP