Wall Street benchmarks advanced on Thursday, with investors reacting to jobless claims falling to a new COVID-19 era low, but wary of rising inflation may force the Federal Reserve to normalize monetary policy sooner rather than later.
Good news on the labor market came from government data that showed workers filing for new unemployment benefits fell further below 500,000 in the latest week. Jobless claims set their lowest levels in more than a year as the labor market continued to heal from the worst days of the COVID-19 outbreak.
“We strongly suggest that firm managers, investors and policymakers should anticipate more robust monthly job gains for the remainder of the year and a steady march downward on the overall unemployment rate to 4.1% by the holiday season,” wrote Joe Brusuelas, chief economist at RSM, in a research note.
Thursday’s trading reversed a losing streak that lasted three days, with cyclical energy and tech stocks dragging on Wall Street. However, caution over the outlook limited the upside, with investors nervous that soaring price pressures could prod the Fed into action against inflation.