Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange during morning trading on February 29, 2024 in New York City.

Michael M. Santiago | Getty Images

Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average sat near flat Thursday night following the index’s worst session in over a year. Investors also awaited key labor data due Friday morning.

Dow futures slipped 21 points, or 0.05%. S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq 100 futures flickered near the flatline.

Those moves follow a selloff on Wall Street during Thursday’s session. The Dow tumbled about 530 points, or 1.35%, marking its biggest daily drop since March 2023 and its fourth consecutive losing session.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite tumbled 1.23% and 1.4%, respectively. The three major averages swung into the red in the afternoon as crude oil jumped and Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Neel Kashkari questioned if interest rates should come down amid sticky inflation.

The Dow has led the three major indexes down this week, pacing for a loss of 3% and its worst weekly performance since March 2023. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq have each slid around 2% through Thursday’s close. Those moves mark a retreat after the strong first quarter concluded last week, leading some market participants to wonder if a correction is warranted following big gains.

“Near term, equities are likely subject to some consolidation following robust first-quarter returns,” said Terry Sandven, chief equity strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management. “A modest pullback would be within the normal ebb and flow of an upward-trending market.”

Investors will watch for the all-important jobs data coming Friday morning. Economists polled by Dow Jones anticipate nonfarm payrolls growing by 200,000 jobs and the unemployment rate ticking down to 3.8% in March.

Average hourly wages, another closely followed metric, are expected to rise by 0.3% on the month and 4.1% from a year prior.

“The market remains highly sensitive to any indication that the data-dependent Fed may need to curtail a rate-easing cycle this year,” said Quincy Krosby, LPL Financial’s global chief strategist, citing Kashkari’s Thursday comments. “Accordingly, the payroll report will provide important inflation-related data particularly with regard to the pace of wages.”


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