Stocks tread water as investors await data

Despite the S&P hitting a new intraday record, US stocks have largely moved sideways today, as market participants take a breather ahead of tomorrow’s delayed employment report.

By early afternoon in New York, the Dow and S&P were both flat, while the NASDAQ 100 had advanced 0.3%.

The S&P 500 once again posted a fresh record high earlier in the session, buoyed by comments from Chicago Fed President Charles Evans who, in an interview on CNBC, said that the Fed needs to see a couple of good labour reports and evidence of GDP growth before it can taper and ‘it’s probably going to take a few months to sort that out.’

He mentioned December as a possible candidate, but acknowledged that fiscal issues might prove to be an obstacle again in the New Year and that makes it difficult to be confident about tapering even by the end of the year. He even went as far as saying that the Fed could increase stimulus if they felt the need.

Existing US home sales eased off in September, dropping 1.9% as higher mortgage rates act to discourage buyers. The annualised rate of 5.29 million sales seen in September was in line with expectations though, so although the report suggests the market is beginning to cool off in the face of a number of headwinds, there was nothing in the data to spook the market.

Despite the signs that the Fed’s stimulus is going to continue, there is come caution amongst investors today, with important employment data released tomorrow, which has been delayed from the first Friday in the month because of the shutdown.

The US dollar has been fairly steady today, making small gains against the euro and sterling, and jumping close to half a percent against the yen.

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