Investors and traders have been keeping a close eye on economic data as they gauge the likelihood of the U.S. Federal Reserve raising interest rates later this year.
Maris Ogg, president at Tower Bridge Advisors, said regarding the jobs report: “In the great scheme of things, it’s not that important. We’ve gotten to such a low level of unemployment that you’re going to need something big to bring back more people into the workforce.”
“What’s going to be important is earnings. You’ve got pretty easy comparisons from last year, when oil was plummeting and fear was rampant,” she said.
Earnings season kicks off next week, when Alcoa releases its quarterly results.
“Right now, the blended S&P 500 3Q 2016 vs. 3Q 2015 expected EPS growth rate is -1.20%, an expected deceleration from last earnings season when 2Q 2016 earnings grew by +2.0%. This is wrong,” Nick Raich, CEO of The Earnings Scout, said in a note to clients. “Our research indicates a high likelihood 3Q 2016 year-over-year growth will be superior to 2Q 2016. Take that to the bank too.”
Wall Street also kept an eye on oil prices, as U.S. crude rose 1.24 percent to $50.45 per barrel, breaking above $50 for the first time since June. Oil prices were underpinned by bullish inventories data released Wednesday.
U.S. Treasury yields rose following the release of better-than-expected weekly jobless claims data. The two-year note yield traded at 0.85 percent, while the benchmark 10-year yield rose to 1.74 percent.
In corporate news, shares of social media firm Twitter plummeted more than 11 percent after Recode reported that three major tech firms were unlikely to take it over.
Overseas, European equities fell slightly, with the pan-European Stoxx 600 index falling 0.21 percent.