The stock market is in record territory. Stocks closed at their latest all-time highs yesterday following news that business hiring surged in June. The S&P 500 index rose 1 point, to 1,974. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 20 points to 16,976. But the Nasdaq composite fell one point, to 4,457. Both the S&P 500 and the Dow are at all-time highs. Futures point to extended gains this morning.
- International stock markets mostly gained today ahead of a U.S. jobs report that is expected to show continued employment growth in a positive sign for the world economy. The European Central Bank is also scheduled to meet, but not expected to make any major moves. Benchmark crude oil dropped to just above $104 per barrel. The dollar gained against the yen and the euro.
- Investors will be closely watching the Labor Department's weekly report on how many people filed for jobless benefits. The department will also release its employment data for June. And the Commerce Department will report May's international trade data. Also, Freddie Mac will report weekly mortgage rates and The Institute for Supply Management will issue its service sector index for June.
- Economists expect the jobless rate to remain at 6.3 percent for a third straight month when the government releases June figures this morning. Experts surveyed by FactSet believe employers added 215,000 jobs last month. That would make it a fifth straight month of job gains over 200,000.
- China has announced a new step toward easing its tight currency controls, allowing banks to set their own exchange rates in dealings with customers. Today's announcement is the latest in a series of moves intended to make China's government-controlled financial system more market-oriented. The U.S. and other countries have criticized Beijing's tight controls saying the currency is kept undervalued, giving Chinese exporters an unfair price advantage