Stocks have erased all of today’s gains, and they’re now slightly in the red.
Just after 1:30 Tuesday, the Dow was up just 21 points (0.1%), the S&P 500 was down 0.1 point (-0.0%), and the Nasdaq was up 17 points (+0.3%).
At its highest level, the Dow was up by 283 points.
On Tuesday, the price of oil was falling again, with West Texas Intermediate crude slipping below $US45 a barrel for the first time since April 2009 as the commodity just cannot find a bottom.
About two months ago, WTI was trading near $US75.
The latest NFIB report shows that small business trends continue to point to higher wages for American workers, something the Fed has been looking for as it eyes its first interest rate hike in more than 8 years.
Shortly after the NFIB report, we got the job openings and labour turnover survey (JOLTS) report, which is one of Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s favourite economic indicators. According to the report, US companies had 4.97 million job openings in November, up from 4.83 million in October.
“The labour market isn’t just healing — it is red hot with nearly 5 million jobs available,” Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi’s Chris Rupkey said. “Slack in the economy isn’t just going away; it’s all but evaporated.”