U.S. stocks fall as Fed sees bond purchases ending this year

Jobs Data

Equities gained earlier after a private report showed companies added 215,000 workers in December. The increase was higher than projected, data from the Roseland, New Jersey-based ADP Research Institute showed today. The median forecast of 36 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for an advance of 140,000.

More Americans than forecast filed claims for unemployment insurance payments last week as the closing of some state agencies during the holidays prompted the government to estimate some figures. Applications for jobless benefits increased 10,000 to 372,000 in the week ended Dec. 29, the Labor Department reported. Economists forecast 360,000 claims, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey.

The Labor Department will tomorrow release its payrolls report for December. The median forecast of economists in a Bloomberg survey projects a gain of 150,000 workers, following an increase of 146,000 in November. The unemployment rate held at 7.7 percent, the lowest since December 2008, according to economists’ estimates.

“This is a funny day because it’s in between the payroll number tomorrow and yesterday’s announcement on the fiscal cliff,” Christopher Orndorff, who helps oversee $450 billion as senior portfolio manager at Western Asset Management Co. in Pasadena, California, said by phone. “People are still trying to digest the news from yesterday and the implications of what may come with the debt limit negotiations that are going to be ongoing for the next two months, and looking forward to tomorrow’s employment report which is going to be meaningful in giving us a stronger sense of the economy.”

Bloomberg News

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