STOCKS DO NOTHING AHEAD OF THE JOBS REPORT: Here's what you need to know

Stocks ended up just close to flat Thursday, after spending most of the day in red.

Despite strong data on the labour market, the Dow and S&P staged a rally to finish the day but remained negative before the huge June jobs report, while the Nasdaq was positive.

We’ve got the top market stories from the day, but first, the scoreboard:

  • Dow: 17,861.62, -33.76, (-0.19%)
  • S&P 500: 2,096.96, -2.77, (-0.13%)
  • Nasdaq: 4,875.00, +15.84.67, (0.33%)
  • WTI crude oil: $45.18, -$2.25, (-4.74%)
  • 10-year Treasury yield: 1.3870%, (+0.14)
  • FTSE 250: 15,898.81, +229.10, (1.46%)
  1. The labour market looks strong. Initial jobless claims beat expectations on Thursday with just 254,000 Americans filing for unemployment insurance. This continues the longest streak of claims under 300,000 since 1973. Additionally, ADP private payrolls came in at 172,000 for the month of June, higher than the projected 160,000.
  2. Government regulators might scuttle $91 billion worth of healthcare mergers. Both the $57 billion merger of Cigna and Anthem and the $37 billion combination of Aetna and Humana drew criticism from lawmakers Thursday. The Aetna-Humana deal reportedly has drawn the attention of the Department of Justice, while the Connecticut State Attorney General cast doubt on the Cigna-Anthem deal.
  3. There might be a $10 billion dairy merger on the way. Danone, the French food-maker of products such as Evian water and Activia yogurt, made a $10 billion offer to buy WhiteWaves, the maker of diary products such as Silk soy milk, on Thursday. The offer was in all cash and will close by the end of the year, pending approval from regulators.
  4. The world’s largest hedge fund is having a dismal year. Ray Dalio’s Bridgewater Associates, known as the world’s largest hedge fund, has seen it’s primary fund sink around 12% so far in 2016 according to reports. While different investors reported losing various amounts through the fund, one thing is for sure, it is not pretty for Dalio and Bridgewater. Also, this comes during a rough environment for hedge funds in general and is not an encouraging sign for the industry.
  5. Chipotle’s stock took another hit after a viral tweet claiming someone else got food poisoning from the restaurant. Shares of the fast-casual chain fell as much as 3.5% on Thursday after a tweets from customers in a few New York City locations claimed that they had gotten sick following eating Chipotle’s food. This comes after the company’s long ordeal with an outbreak of E. coli. The stock recovered slightly to end the day down just 2.5%.
  6. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced a big shake-up at the top of the company. After the departure of COO Kevin Turner, Nadella announced that instead of replacing Turner, a number of executives will step into those duties. Nadella himself will lead the sales and marketing team. As Business Insider’s Julie Bort wrote, it also tightens his grip on the company’s leadership.
  7. Friday’s jobs report is going to be a big one. The Employment Situation Summary for June will be released by the Bureau of Labour Statistics on Friday at 8:30 a.m ET. After a lacklustre report for May, Bank of America Merrill Lynch called it “the most important jobs report” of the year. Expectations are for 180,000 jobs added to the economy and the unemployment rate to tick up 0.1% to 4.8%. Check back in the morning for full coverage.


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