Stock Market Today: Stocks Chop Ahead of September Jobs Report

The main benchmarks struggled to gain steam Thursday as anxiety builds ahead of tomorrow's nonfarm payrolls report.

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(Image credit: Getty Images)

Retreating Treasury yields couldn't boost the stock market Thursday, though a late-afternoon burst of buying power brought all three main indexes off their session lows. 

Anxiety is running high ahead of tomorrow morning's release of the September jobs report – the last major update on the labor market ahead of the next Fed meeting – which was evident in today's price action.  

Yields on government bonds continued to ease today. The yield on the 2-year Treasury fell 2.7 basis points to 5.023%, and the yield on the 10-year note dropped 2.1 basis points to 4.716%. (A basis point = 0.01%.)

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However, unlike Wednesday's session where falling yields translated into notable upside for the main benchmarks, all three finished today with modest losses. At the close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.03% at 33,119, the S&P 500 was 0.1% lower at 4,258, and the Nasdaq Composite had slipped 0.1% to 13,219.

Jobless claims rise less than expected

Ahead of Friday morning's monthly payrolls report, today's data from the Labor Department showed initial jobless claims ticked up by 2,000 last week to 207,000, below the 210,000 economists were anticipating. 

Expectations are for tomorrow's report to show that the U.S. added 170,000 new jobs last month – less than the 187,000 seen in August – and that the unemployment rate fell to 3.7% from 3.8%.

"Yesterday's ADP report suggested the jobs market could be cooling," says Mark Etzkorn, senior manager of corporate communications at E*TRADE from Morgan Stanley. "Today's low weekly jobless claims total points in the opposite direction. Tomorrow's monthly jobs report may break the tie, but as has been the case for months, clear-cut evidence of a labor market slowdown has been hard to come by."

Exxon Mobil drops on Q3 outlook, sinking oil prices

In single-stock news, the electric vehicle (EV) space was volatile Thursday. Rivian Automotive (RIVN), for one, plunged 22.9% after the company said it will offer $1.5 billion in convertible notes as it looks to raise cash. 

Fellow EV stock Lucid Group (LCID) was also a notable decliner today, falling 7.2% after the company unveiled a less-expensive version of its Air Pure sedan. The price for the vehicle starts at $77,400, which is about $5,000 less than the previous model.

Meanwhile, blue chip stock Exxon Mobil (XOM) shed 2.3% as U.S crude futures slumped 2.3% to $82.31 per barrel. The oil major also revealed late Wednesday via a regulatory filing that while rising crude prices will help boost third-quarter earnings, thinner margins from its chemicals segment will weigh on its bottom line results by as much as $600 million.

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Karee Venema
Senior Investing Editor,

With over a decade of experience writing about the stock market, Karee Venema is the senior investing editor at She joined the publication in April 2021 after 10 years of working as an investing writer and columnist at Schaeffer's Investment Research. In her previous role, Karee focused primarily on options trading, as well as technical, fundamental and sentiment analysis.