Stock market today: Wall Street rises in early trading with new US jobs data on the way

Apr 4, 2024, 12:24 AM

Wall Street pointed to a modestly higher open Thursday ahead of fresh data on the jobs market that could impact the Federal Reserve’s next decision on interest rates.

Futures for the Dow Jones industrials rose 0.2% before the bell, while S&P 500 futures rose 0.3%.

The U.S. releases its weekly jobs report Thursday and on Friday, the closely watched monthly jobs report for March arrives from the Labor Department.

After raising its benchmark lending rate to hits highest level in more than two decades, the Fed had paused hiking its rate at its last five meetings as inflation has retreated significantly from highs of more than 9%.

Officials at the U.S. central bank have indicated that three rate cuts were still possible this year, which would relieve pressure on the economy and boost stocks. But Fed officials say they will do so only if more evidence arrives to show inflation is heading down toward their goal of 2%.

The broader U.S. economy has held up better than anticipated since the Fed started hiking rates in March of 2022 in its bid to cool demand and the labor market. Though there have been some high-profile companies announcing layoffs recently, jobs remain plentiful and the unemployment rate has remained under 4% for 25 months, the longest stretch since the 1960s.

In early trading Thursday, Levi Strauss jumped 12.3% before the bell after the jeans maker beat Wall Street’s first-quarter sales and profit forecasts and raised its 2024 profit guidance.

Also beating analysts’ forecasts was Conagra, the packaged food giant. Shares of the Chicago-based maker of Duncan Hines and Banquet products rose 3.2% in premarket after it posted results Thursday.

Elsewhere, in Europe at midday Britain’s FTSE 100 rose more than 0.4%, while France’s CAC 40 and Germany’s DAX were effectively unchanged.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 rose 0.8% to 39,773.14. Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.5% to 7,817.30. South Korea’s Kospi added 1.3% to 2,742.00.

Analysts say Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s (TSMC) facilities may get quicker-than-expected relief — easing concerns about production halts — after a powerful earthquake struck Wednesday, killing at least nine people. Trading was closed in Taiwan, as well as in China, for a national holiday.

“Market participants took comfort in the weaker-than-expected U.S. services purchasing managers index overnight, which offset the surprise rebound in manufacturing activities earlier in the week and suggest that overall demand may still remain tame for the Federal Reserve’s inflation fight,” said Yeap Jun Rong, market analyst at IG.

Share prices also got a lift from a recent report from Japan’s major labor union Rengo, or Japanese Trade Union Confederation, that wage increases continued to be solid in this year’s negotiations, averaging a rise of more than 5%, the highest in three decades.

In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude fell 3 cents to $85.40 a barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, was up 2 cents to $89.37 a barrel.

In currency trading, the U.S. dollar edged up to 151.75 Japanese yen from 151.65 yen. The euro cost $1.0853, up from $1.0837.

United States News

Associated Press

North Carolina University system considers policy change that could cut diversity staff

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The future of diversity, equity and inclusion staff jobs in North Carolina’s public university system could be at stake as a series of votes loom on a key policy’s potential repeal. The Committee on University Governance within the University of North Carolina Board of Governors that oversees 17 schools, was poised […]

17 minutes ago

Associated Press

Sweeping gun legislation awaits final votes as Maine lawmakers near adjournment

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The Maine Legislature moved in fits and starts toward adjournment on Wednesday, with unfinished business including final votes on a series of gun safety bills that were introduced after the deadliest shooting in state history last fall. The Senate was awaiting an enactment vote on the governor’s gun safety proposals that […]

26 minutes ago

Associated Press

How many ballerinas can dance on tiptoes in one place? A world record 353 at New York’s Plaza Hotel

NEW YORK (AP) — Hundreds of young dancers in white tutus and tightly coiffed hair gathered in New York’s Plaza Hotel on Wednesday to break the world record for dancing on pointe in one place. The spectacle was organized by Youth America Grand Prix, a ballet scholarship program that is celebrating its 25th anniversary with […]

35 minutes ago

Associated Press

Lab chief faces sentencing in Michigan 12 years after fatal US meningitis outbreak

HOWELL, Mich. (AP) — Days after a routine injection to ease back pain, Donna Kruzich and a friend drove across the border to Canada in 2012 to see end-of-summer theater in Stratford, Ontario. The 78-year-old Michigan woman suddenly became ill and returned home. By early October, she was dead. “Most of the time she could […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Police confirm Missouri officer fired fatal shot that killed man who allegedly shot another man

FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) — A Ferguson, Missouri, police officer fired the fatal shot that killed at man at a gas station in the St. Louis suburb, police said Wednesday. The shooting happened just before 1:30 a.m. Tuesday at a convenience store. Police said 26-year-old Detarius Haynes and 18-year-old Joshua Campbell were in a vehicle that […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Senator’s son pleads not guilty to charges from crash that killed North Dakota sheriff’s deputy

WASHBURN, N.D. (AP) — The adult son of U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer pleaded not guilty Wednesday to homicide and other charges in connection with a Dec. 6 crash that killed a North Dakota sheriff’s deputy. Ian Cramer, 43, waived his preliminary hearing and entered his not guilty plea to felony charges of homicide while fleeing […]

3 hours ago

Sponsored Articles



Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.


Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

Stock market today: Wall Street rises in early trading with new US jobs data on the way