Stocks drift lower at the open as oil trades above $50; Friday jobs report looms

U.S. stocks on Thursday began trade modestly lower as crude-oil futures headed above $50 a barrel and as investors awaited a closely watched employment report due Friday. Ahead of that labor-market statistic, claims data showed that the number of people seeking unemployment benefits fell by 5,000 to 249,000 at the end of September–offering more signs of health in the jobs market. The S&P 500 index slipped 2 points, or less than 0.1%, to 2,157, the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 30 points, or 0.2%, at 18,249, and the Nasdaq Composite Index gave up 9 points, or 0.2%, to 5,307. Energy-sector stocks may benefit from what has been a steady climb, with West Texas Intermediate crude oil trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange rising 0.6% at $50.13 a barrel. And the yield on the benchmark 10-year note was trading at 1.73%–its highest in about three weeks. In corporate news, Twitter Inc. headed lower after reports indicated that some likely bidders for the micro-blogging site, including Google Inc. parent Alphabet Inc. won’t make a bid to acquire the tech outfit.

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Source: Market News

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