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US stocks fluctuate ahead of GDP

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US stocks fluctuate ahead of GDP

Stocks on the American exchanges fluctuated before closing to the down side, as market participants look ahead to high profile data releases later in the week. Government economists will release official GDP estimates Thursday, followed by nonfarm payrolls Friday.

Gross domestic product and employment are the most closely followed growth indicators. GDP—the value of all goods and services produced in the economy—grew at an annualized rate of 2 percent in the third quarter, according to a median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg. On Friday the Labor Department will show employers added 125,000 payrolls last month, according to economists.

US stocks fluctuated amid strong growth from the service economy. ISM’s Non-manufacturing index rose for the 46th consecutive month in October, exceeding estimates. The Standard & Poor’s 500 dipped almost 5 points, closing at 1,762.97. The benchmark gauge advanced 0.4 percent the prior session, building on four consecutive weeks of growth. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 20 points to 15,618.20 after only ten of its 30 members reported gains. CISCO Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) were the biggest gainers, advancing at least 1.95 percent. Telecommunications led the declines, with Verizon Communications (NYSE:VM) and AT&T (NYSE:T) dropping at least 1.94 percent.

“The market is in a quandary right now,” said Colleen Supran of Bingham, Osborn & Scarborough. Supran was referring to the jobs report; although market watchers are hoping to see steady growth on the jobs front, a healthy job market might give the Federal Reserve the impetus to taper asset purchases sooner than expected.

At the same time, the markets will closely scrutinize the GDP figures for signs the economy is accelerating at a rate that justifies the stock market’s performance. The S&P 500 is well on its way to its best year since 2003. The S&P 500 index has broken several records on its way to a gain of more than 20 percent since January 1.

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