Stock Market Today: Markets Dip Despite Upbeat Jobs Data

Good news about the state of the labor market just a day ahead of the monthly payrolls report stirred anxiety about inflation and rising interest rates.

Concept art of a bad stock drop.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Stocks closed lower Thursday after strong jobs data got traders fretting once again about the specter of inflation.

With tomorrow's monthly payrolls report on deck, today we learned weekly initial unemployment claims dropped below 400,000 for the first time since March 2020, an indication of a labor market on the mend. ADP's own data puts May's new-jobs number at 1 million, a figure well ahead of economists' estimates.

Although April's dismal numbers surprised and disappointed investors, the possibility of a red-hot May report tomorrow morning was enough to stoke inflation fears and, in turn, anxiety over interest rates.

Subscribe to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

Be a smarter, better informed investor.

Save up to 74%

Sign up for Kiplinger’s Free E-Newsletters

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice on investing, taxes, retirement, personal finance and more - straight to your e-mail.

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice - straight to your e-mail.

Sign up

"This morning’s economic data has rates moving higher," writes Michael Reinking, senior market strategist at the New York Stock Exchange. "Just as the Street seemed to coalesce around the idea of another disappointing jobs number tomorrow, the ADP employment report came in at 1.5-times the Street estimate. Keep in mind, last month’s ADP report was also much stronger than the official data."

Sign up for Kiplinger's FREE Investing Weekly e-letter for stock, ETF and mutual fund recommendations, and other investing advice.

As has been the pattern, big, pricey tech stocks such as Microsoft (MSFT (opens in new tab), -0.6%), (AMZN (opens in new tab), -1.5%) and Apple (AAPL (opens in new tab), -1.2%) suffered the brunt of the selling. The more value-oriented Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped less than 0.1% to close at 34,577, while the broader S&P 500 dipped 0.4% to finish at 4,192. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite was the laggard of the major indexes, falling 1.0% to settle at 13,614.

Other action in the stock market today:

  • The Russell 2000 small-cap index fell 0.8% to close at 2,279.
  • AMC Entertainment (AMC (opens in new tab), -17.9%) swung wildly as it sold a total of 11.6 million shares at an average price of $50.85 a share. The offering, which raised $587.4 million in new equity, coincided with the stock falling almost 40% at one point during the session.
  • Tesla (TSLA (opens in new tab), -5.3%) tumbled on a report that the electric-vehicle maker's orders in China fell by nearly half in May compared with April.
  • U.S. crude oil futures rose 0.1% to $68.89 a barrel.
  • Gold futures gained 1.9% to $1,873.20 an ounce.
  • Bitcoin prices increased 2.3% to $38,623. (Bitcoin trades 24 hours a day; prices reported here are as of 4 p.m. each trading day.)

market chart 6321

(Image credit: YCharts)

Traders trade and investors invest

And that difference between the two often affords the latter an advantage.

It is, of course, too soon to know if inflation fears are overblown or not, but the "good news is bad news trade" we saw Thursday has long been a staple of bull markets. Such markets are also said to "climb a wall of worry," among too many other cliches.

As dizzying as traders' daily mood swings can be, they do give long-term investors a chance to buy good stocks at lower prices. Just have a look at some of the stocks billionaires are buying these days. The big money is scooping up lagging tech stocks, in some cases even starting big positions in names as unloved as Dow stock Intel (INTC (opens in new tab)).

Indeed, bargain hunters can find value picks aplenty throughout the tech sector. And it's not for nothing that some of Wall Street's highest-rated stocks can be found in the market-lagging Nasdaq Composite index.

So before you follow skittish traders blindy out of tech and other growthier stocks this year, consider that it might be time to go shopping while some of these names are on sale. With that in mind, have a look at 11 of the best tech stocks to buy for the rest of 2021.

Dan Burrows
Senior Investing Writer,

Dan Burrows is Kiplinger's senior investing writer, having joined the august publication full time in 2016.

A long-time financial journalist, Dan is a veteran of SmartMoney, MarketWatch, CBS MoneyWatch, InvestorPlace and DailyFinance. He has written for The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Consumer Reports, Senior Executive and Boston magazine, and his stories have appeared in the New York Daily News, the San Jose Mercury News and Investor's Business Daily, among other publications. As a senior writer at AOL's DailyFinance, Dan reported market news from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange and hosted a weekly video segment on equities.

Once upon a time – before his days as a financial reporter and assistant financial editor at legendary fashion trade paper Women's Wear Daily – Dan worked for Spy magazine, scribbled away at Time Inc. and contributed to Maxim magazine back when lad mags were a thing. He's also written for Esquire magazine's Dubious Achievements Awards.

In his current role at Kiplinger, Dan writes about equities, fixed income, currencies, commodities, funds, macroeconomics, demographics, real estate and more.

Dan holds a bachelor's degree from Oberlin College and a master's degree from Columbia University.

Disclosure: Dan does not trade stocks or other securities. Rather, he dollar-cost averages into cheap funds and index funds and holds them forever in tax-advantaged accounts.