(News Bulletin 247) – The New York Stock Exchange is expected to open on a hesitant note on Thursday morning following the announcement of a larger-than-expected rise in jobless claims, likely to encourage the Fed to ease off on its hikes rate.

Half an hour before the opening, the ‘futures’ contracts on the major New York indices are gaining not far from 0.1%, suggesting a start to the session without much change.

Investors seem to want to take a break in order to digest the latest statements from Jerome Powell, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, which prompted them to revise their rate expectations significantly upwards.

For the moment, however, the decline in US equity markets remains limited, the Dow Jones having lost less than 1.9% in two days, while the Nasdaq only shows a decline of around 0.8 %.

Despite this downward movement, many analysts believe that the fate of Wall Street will mainly be played out in the coming days, according to the data to be published on employment and inflation.

At the macroeconomic level, the latest indicators in any case tend to suggest that tensions are easing a little on the labor market.

Claims for unemployment benefits increased by 21,000 during the week of February 27, to settle at 211,000 while the consensus expected them at 195,000.

If the underlying trend seems a priori a little less favorable on the employment front, we will have to wait until tomorrow and the figures for job creations, still closely watched by the markets, to see more clearly.

In January, employment data was surprisingly strong with 517,000 new jobs created and the unemployment rate down to 1969 lows.

The margin of error looks much smaller for tomorrow’s release.

‘We believe that solid figures of around 200,000 job creations would be sufficient to lead to a rate hike of 50 basis points at the end of the next FOMC’, warn economists at Barclays.

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