Wall St Flat as Investors Hold Off Ahead of Jobs Data

Economic IndicatorsReuters

Wall Street was little changed on Thursday as investors were wary of making big bets ahead of Friday's payrolls report.

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The crucial monthly hiring data will help investors gauge the health of the economy and offer clues about when the Federal Reserve could pull the trigger on rates.

"Today is more of a consolidation of positions. Perhaps taking some chips off the table ahead of tomorrow's jobs number," said Tony Bedikian, head of global markets at Citizens Bank.

"The Fed would perhaps need one more strong payroll number before it makes a move."

Traders have priced in a 12 percent chance of a rate hike in September and a 35 percent chance in December, according to CME Group's FedWatch tool.

At 12:32 p.m. ET (1632 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 1.95 points, or 0.01 percent, at 18,356.95.

The S&P 500 index was up 2.09 points, or 0.1 percent, at 2,165.88.

The Nasdaq Composite was up 9.20 points, or 0.18 percent, at 5,168.94.

The Bank of England lowered its key lending rate to 0.25 percent from 0.5 and said it would take "whatever action is necessary" to achieve stability in the wake of Britain's vote to leave the European Union.

Seven of the 10 major S&P 500 sectors were higher, led by a 0.52 percent gain in the information technology index.

A rebound in oil prices helped reverse losses in the energy sector, which rose 0.21 percent.

Facebook's stock rose 1.6 percent to $124.50 and was the biggest driver of the S&P and the Nasdaq.

Metlife dropped nearly 10 percent after the largest U.S. life insurer's quarterly profit missed estimates.

Ball Corp jumped 8.5 percent after its quarterly sales rose and was the top percentage gainer on the S&P 500.

LinkedIn which has agreed to be bought by Microsoft , and Kraft Heinz are scheduled to report after the bell.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,783 to 1,073. On the Nasdaq, 1,508 issues rose and 1,185 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed 16 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 66 new highs and 27 new lows. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)

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