MARKET SNAPSHOT: Stock Market Fights For Flight As ADP Jobs Report Firms Rate Hike Expectations

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The Dow industrials and S&P 500 closed lower for a third consecutive session Wednesday as oil prices dropped and a stronger-than-expected report on private-sector employment helped to bolster expectations for an interest-rate hike next week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, >-0.23%  declined 69.03 points, or 0.3%, to 20,855.73, with a 2.8% decline in

Caterpillar Inc. CAT, >+0.24% stock, and shares of

Exxon Mobil Corp. XOM, >+0.16% and

Chevron Corp. CVX, >+0.24%  falling nearly 2%. Caterpillar shares were getting hammered after a report commissioned by the government accused the company of tax-accounting fraud, according to a report in the New York Times.

The S&P 500 index SPX, >-0.40%  finished down 5.41 points, or 0.2%, at 2,362.98, as a 2.5% drop in energy stocks offset gains in the consumer-discretionary and health-care sectors. Oil prices US:CLJ7 plummeted 5.4% to settle at $50.28 a barrel after government data showed a rise in crude-oil inventories.

It marks the first time since late January that the Dow and the S&P 500 have both closed lower for three consecutive sessions.

The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, >-0.64%  narrowly avoided a loss on the session, rising 3.62 points, or less than 0.1%, to close at 5,837.55.

Read: Financial ETFs rise as ADP data firm Fed rate-hike expectations

Paycheck-processing firm ADP reported Wednesday the private sector added 298,000 jobs in February. That data comes in advance of government data on jobs due Friday. A weak number could dent expectations for a March hike, the odds of which rose sharply last week, market strategists said, as a bevy of Fed officials signaled their support for raising rates.

“We’re starting this week off pretty slowly and sideways and I think that the jobs number will end up deciding the direction of this market,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities.

Stocks have risen dramatically since the Nov. 8 U.S. election, in part because investors expected that President Donald Trump would move swiftly to implement a slate of fiscal policies — including sweeping corporate tax cuts, a $1 trillion infrastructure-spending package, and a rollback of financial regulations — that he touted during the campaign.

But the postelection rally has stalled in recent days, in part because the Trump administration has pushed back the timeline for its tax-reform efforts and provided scant details about its other plans. Now, Republicans are squabbling over a plan for repealing and replacing Obamacare that was announced on Monday.

“What we’re seeing is expectations starting to wither a little bit with regard to the timing of Trump implementing his agenda,” said James Abate, chief investment officer at Centre Asset Management.

Read: Great jobs report or not, Fed appears bent on raising interest rates

See: Fed may go ‘old school’ on rate hikes. says ‘Bond King’ Jeff Gundlach

In other economic news, a report on business inventories showed that wholesale inventories for January were down 0.2%.

See: MarketWatch’s economic calendar

Other markets: Stocks in Asia closed mixed, with markets stuck in a range ahead of the Fed meeting next week. Data from China showed the country recorded a surprise trade deficit in February, its first since 2014, following a surge in imports after the Lunar New Year holiday and a drop in exports.

European stocks also finished mixed. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 index UKX, >+0.02% was down 0.1% as Treasury chief Philip Hammond detailed the government’s budget plans.

Gold US:GCJ7 prices dropped for a seventh straight session to settle down 0.6% at $1,209.40 an ounce, while the ICE Dollar Index DXY, >-0.15%  was up 0.3%.

Stock movers: Oil companies led decliners on the S&P 500 as crude prices slid. Shares of

Marathon Oil Corp. MRO, >-2.15%  fell 8.7%,

Murphy Oil Corp. MUR, >-0.54%  shares dropped 6.7%,

Devon Energy Corp. DVN, >-0.80%  shares fell 6.5% and

Chesapeake Energy Corp. CHK, >-5.00%  shares dropped 6.1%.

Home-builder

Hovnanian Enterprises Inc. HOV, >+0.44%  shares finished down 7.5%, after trading higher earlier in the session as the company reported a first-quarter profit.

H&R Block Inc. HRB, >+2.06% shares jumped 15% after the tax-services company reported stronger revenue growth than anticipated, and a smaller-than-expected loss.

Shares of produce company

Calavo Growers Inc. CVGW, >-0.64% fell 1.8% after the company on Tuesday reported quarterly and full-year earnings.

Vera Bradley Inc. VRA, >+4.04%  shares finished down 0.5% after the company released a soft forecast for revenue and profit and reported a 12% drop in revenue for the latest quarter.

Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. DKS, >+1.87%  shares rose 2.3% after the company said Tuesday that it was dumping a fifth of its vendors to focus on its own brands despite RBC Capital cutting its share-price target to $61 from $65.

—Sara Sjolin in London contributed to this article.

This is source I found from another site, main source you can find in last paragraph

Source : http://www.marketwatch.com/story/sp-faces-fight-to-break-out-of-losses-as-investors-wait-for-jobs-update-2017-03-08

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