S&P 500, Nasdaq close slightly down ahead of payrolls data

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Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange in New York City, on Monday.

NEW YORK >> The S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite finished a shade lower today ahead of a key labor market report, retreating from record highs reached in the previous session. The Dow was slightly higher.

Benchmark S&P 500 and Nasdaq rose early and reached fresh intraday record highs, but then they retreated as technology stocks dipped.

Utilities and industrials were the two other sectors that dragged the S&P 500 lower. The gainers were led by consumer discretionary and energy. Nvidia fell 1.1% and was back to being the world’s third most valuable company the day after it jumped ahead of Apple to take second place.

Investors will watch Friday’s crucial U.S. nonfarm payrolls report. The weekly jobless claims report was the latest data to indicate labor market easing, which could allow the Federal Reserve begin cutting interest rates. The European Central Bank delivered its first interest rate cut since 2019.

“It’s a little bit of a pause before non-farm,” said Bill Strazzullo, chief market strategist at Bell Curve Trading in Boston. “It’s not unusual. We had a big day yesterday and today people are getting their positions where they want to be before the payroll number,” he said.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 78.84 points, or 0.20%, to 38,886.17, the S&P 500 lost 1.07 points, or 0.02%, to 5,352.96 and the Nasdaq Composite lost 14.78 points, or 0.09%, to 17,173.12.

Gains in Nvidia and other AI-related players have largely driven Wall Street’s rally this year, with the chipmaker accounting for roughly a third of the S&P 500’s year-to-date gains of over 12%.

Traders see a 68% chance of a September rate reduction, according to the CME’s FedWatch tool, and have priced in about two cuts this year, as per data from LSEG. Forecasters polled by Reuters also expect two cuts.

“We are in an information vacuum between now and tomorrow,” said Thomas Hayes, chairman at Great Hill Capital in New York. “But by and large we have entered a global, coordinated central bank easing policy in the West that excludes Japan, which will be tightening,” he added.

Shares of GameStop surged 47% after the online stock influencer known as “Roaring Kitty” posted on YouTube that he would hold a livestream on Friday.

Lululemon Athletica rose 4.8% after beating expectations for first-quarter profit and revenue on Wednesday.

U.S.-listed shares of NIO dropped 6.8% after the Chinese electric vehicle maker posted a quarterly net loss.

Five Below slumped 10.6% after the discount store operator trimmed its annual net-sales forecast.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.05-to-1 ratio on the NYSE. On the Nasdaq, 1,729 stocks rose and 2,445 fell as declining issues outnumbered advancers by a 1.41-to-1 ratio.

The S&P 500 posted 25 new 52-week highs and 5 new lows while the Nasdaq Composite recorded 57 new highs and 110 new lows.

The total volume of shares traded across U.S. exchanges was about 10.4 billion, compared with the 12.7 billion average over the last 20 trading days.