The government will release its closely watched monthly jobs report Friday. Private economists forecast that hiring in November sank from the previous month. They expect the unemployment rate to remain unchanged at 7.9 percent.
More companies announced plans to reward investors with dividends this month in case taxes rise next year.
Sirius XM Radio said it will issue a one-time dividend of 5 cents per share at the end of the month and spend up to $2 billion buying back its stock. Safeway shifted a payment scheduled for January to Dec. 31. And Landstar Systems, a transportation company, will pay shareholders 50 cents a share this month instead of paying dividends for the next two years.
Dividends, now taxed at 15 percent, will be treated like ordinary income next year unless Congress and the White House extend current tax breaks as part of a budget deal.
Among other stocks making moves:
â¿¿ Akamai Technologies jumped 10 percent, the best gain in the S&P 500 index. Akamai, which helps websites work faster, forged a partnership with AT&T to deliver online content. Its stock gained $3.56 to $39.06.
â¿¿ H&R Block surged 5 percent after posting revenue and earnings that beat analysts' estimates. The country's largest tax preparation company reported a smaller loss, helped by cost-cutting efforts. It typically turns in a loss in the August-to-October period because it takes in most of its revenue during the U.S. tax season. H&R Block gained 89 cents to $18.26.
â¿¿ The Men's Wearhouse dropped 84 cents to $30.51. The clothing company posted third-quarter results missed Wall Street's estimates and cut its profit estimates for the fourth quarter and full year.