STORY: U.S. stocks eked out a slight gain on Thursday, with the S&P 500 snapping a four-session losing streak in a late-day rally as investors looked ahead to a key jobs report on Friday.
The Dow ended nearly half a percent higher. The S&P 500 finished up three tenths of a percent. But the Nasdaq ended down a quarter of a percent.
Data on Thursday showed weekly jobless claims fell more than expected last week and layoffs dropped in August.
Tim Courtney, chief financial officer at Exencial Wealth Advisors, said that data and a likely strong nonfarm payrolls report on Friday will give the Federal Reserve more cushion to continue its aggressive interest rate hikes even at the risk of a potential recession.
"The jobs numbers have continued to be good and have surprised to the upside. My guess would be we're still in that mode. It's still tight. I think the jobless number has gone down half a percent from the beginning of the year to, you know, the last reading. My guess is we're going to get another strong number. And, you know, again, the markets are probably going to react to that good news. If it's a strong number, which is generally good news, the market will react to that as it has been, which should be, and I'm going to take it as bad news as interest rates will likely continue to go higher."
Weighing on the Nasdaq were chipmakers, led by a more than 7.5% fall in shares of Nvidia after the United States imposed an export ban on some top AI chips to China.
Shares of Snap posted another strong gain, after soaring the day prior on the news it will slash its workforce by 20%.
And a bad day for a couple consumer staples stocks as Hormel Foods fell more than 6.5% after cutting its full-year profit forecast. And shares of Campbell Soup fell 2% after posting a 2023 profit forecast that came in below estimates.