Wall Street gives up early advances

US stock indices ran out of steam this afternoon in New York, surrendering earlier gains, as thin volumes ahead of Thursday’s US holiday facilitated swings in prices.

The Dow Jones had risen as high as 15,049 earlier in the day, boosted by data showing rising factory orders, but slipped back as the day wore on and within the last hour of the New York trading session the blue chip stock index was standing at 14,917, down 0.39% or 58 points. The S&P 500 fared better, but was still in the red, off 0.26% at 1610.

The falls came despite comments from William Dudley, the President of the New York Fed, who re-iterated his remarks from last week in a speech in Connecticut today, saying that the pace of economic growth will probably rise in 2014, but stimulus from the Fed could be extended should economic improvements fall short of forecasts.

The impact of such comments from the various heads of regional Federal Reserve Banks are diminishing, given the frequency and lack of consistency between them and investors will now be focussed on employment data, with jobless claims due for release tomorrow (a day earlier than normal because of Thursday’s public holiday in the US) along with the ADP employment report and then followed up with the eagerly-anticipated non-farm payrolls on Friday.

Volumes may be thin ahead of Friday’s employment report, with US markets closing early tomorrow and only resuming on Friday. The fact that we slam right back into action with the official employment data means that there could be a fair amount of volatility before the week is out.

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