S&P 500 edges upward before U.S. jobs data; euro eases on ECB outlook

Thu Sep 3, 2015 5:43pm EDT
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By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stocks edged higher on Wall Street in another volatile session on Thursday while the euro fell 1 percent on a darkening euro zone outlook as investors grew cautious ahead of the closely watched U.S. monthly jobs report.

Global stock markets rallied earlier following a pledge from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi to beef up or prolong the bank's economic stimulus if necessary.

The comments came as the bank cut its inflation and growth forecasts for the euro zone and weighed on the euro.

Nervousness ahead of the U.S. Labor Department's monthly jobs report on Friday and what it may mean for the Federal Reserve's interest rate outlook caused stock investors to trim gains in late trade.

The U.S. central bank, which meets on Sept. 16-17, has said it will raise rates when it sees a sustained economic recovery. While the U.S. labor market has strengthened, inflation remains below the Fed's 2 percent target.

Investors also remain on edge after recent market turmoil sparked by concerns over slowing growth in China and its potential impact on the global economy.

"After a waterfall decline like we had over a week ago, you can have violent moves both up and down. That's a little of what we're seeing now as well as positioning in advance of not just the jobs number tomorrow, but a long weekend where we will be digesting the jobs number and whatever else we get over the weekend," said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott in Philadelphia.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI rose 23.38 points, or 0.14 percent, to 16,374.76, while the benchmark S&P 500 .SPX gained 2.27 points, or 0.12 percent, to 1,951.13. The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 16.48 points, or 0.35 percent, to 4,733.50.   Continued...

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the markets opened in New York September 3, 2015.  REUTERS/Lucas Jackson