The jobs report will be the latest test of the U.S. economy’s resilience.


The S&P 500 has risen 1.4 percent this week.Credit…Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters

Stock markets offered a preview of how investors might react to a potential drop in the number of new jobs added in May when they rallied this week after other signs that the labor market continues to cool.

The S&P 500 has risen 1.4 percent this week, and the 10-year government bond yield, which underpins borrowing costs across consumer and corporate debt, has fallen 0.2 percentage points — roughly the same as a typical cut to interest rates by the Federal Reserve.

Investors added to bets on how soon the Fed could lower interest rates after data on Tuesday showed job openings fell to their lowest level since in more than three years.

Investors still expect the Fed to begin cutting interest rates in September but have increased bets that it will opt to start sooner, in July. Other central banks around the world have already begun to lower rates, including the Bank of Canada on Wednesday and the European Central Bank on Thursday. Analysts at Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase are among those predicting a July move by the Fed. (Fed policymakers meet next week to set rates, but most analysts believe they will leave rates unchanged.)

Some investors have noted that other data on the U.S. labor market, such as the employment component of recent manufacturing surveys and the number of people voluntarily leaving jobs, have signaled that the economy might be starting to buckle.

That’s part of the reason that the government’s monthly release of jobs data has become one of the most closely watched releases on investors’ radar, deemed vital for assessing the path of inflation and interest rates.

With investors and economists already expecting a further slowdown in the number of new jobs added in May, and more data to come before the Fed meets in July, some analysts said it would take a big surprise to get a strong market reaction.

Already this week, Nvidia and Microsoft, both beneficiaries of the boom in artificial intelligence whose growth is aided by lower interest rates, led the S&P 500 to a new high.

Nvidia on Wednesday became the third company, after Apple and Microsoft, to have a market value above $3 trillion, and briefly became worth more than Apple before inching lower on Thursday. Microsoft remains the mostly highly valued company in the United States, at $3.2 trillion.



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