US stocks close mixed as investors nervously await November jobs report

US stocks close mixed as investors nervously await November jobs report
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.Spencer Platt/Getty Images
  • US stocks ended mixed Thursday, marking a pullback from gains during the session.
  • The Fed's preferred inflation gauge rose by less than expected in October, by 0.2%.

US stocks finished mostly lower Thursday as investors at the start of December trade appeared to prepare for a potentially strong monthly jobs report, just before the Federal Reserve delivers its last rate hike of 2022.

Stocks advanced earlier in the session after the Commerce Department said the core Personal Consumption Expenditures Index rose 0.2% in October month over month. The Fed's preferred inflation gauge, which strips out food and energy prices, was below an Econoday consensus estimate of 0.3%.

But the indexes turned mixed later in the day as investors considered other data points, including a drop in weekly jobless claims, by 16,000 to 225,000.

Here's where US indexes stood at the 4:30 p.m. closing bell on Thursday:

"The initial jobless claims headline reading showed the labor market is still strong," Edward Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda, wrote in a note.


"The trends are clear for inflation, but the big question mark is if the labor market is going to have a broader slowdown. Tomorrow's nonfarm payrolls report will be important as it could move forward bets that inflation will continue to decline."

Ahead of the jobs report, investors were widely expecting the Fed to start downsizing the size of its rate hikes, to 50 basis points at its December 13-14 meeting. The Fed has pushed up interest rates from 0% this year to bring inflation down to its 2% target by slowing economic activity.

The PCE Index rose 5% year over year in October compared with 5.2% in September. Meanwhile, consumer price inflation was running around a four-decade high below 8%.

Here's what else is happening today:

In commodities, bonds, and crypto: