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Stocks Waver as Investors Mull Mixed Jobs Report, Omicron Impact

Stocks waver as investors mull a mixed jobs report, new cases of omicron and Congress keeping the federal government lights on.
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Stocks were wavering as investors mulled a weaker-than-expected jobs report, cases of the omicron Covid variant reported in some states, and the congressional passage of a short-term spending bill, which for now averted a shutdown of the federal government.

At last check the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.21%, the S&P 500 moved up 0.19% and the Nasdaq Composite eased 0.28%.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury note yield was at 1.459%, up 0.012.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that total nonfarm payroll employment rose 210,000 in November while the unemployment rate fell 0.4 percentage point to 4.2%.

Economists in a Wall Street Journal survey estimate that employers added 573,000 jobs in November, around October’s figure. They pegged the jobless rate at 4.5%, down from 4.6%. 

"While the November unemployment report is a mixed bag, attention may gravitate to the drop in the unemployment rate to 4.2%, mindful that the low point before the pandemic was 3.5%," Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate, wrote in a note. 

"More progress has been made on this front than was expected a year or so ago."

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On Thursday Minnesota, Colorado, New York and Hawaii confirmed new cases of the omicron variant.

The funding bill keeps the government open through mid-February. The House voted 221-212 for the bill, with one Republican, Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, joining the Democrats to back the bill, The New York Times reported. The Senate then voted 69-to-28 in favor, sending it to President Joe Biden's desk for signing.

Stocks on Thursday snapped back from the Wednesday selloff, as investors looked to move beyond concern about the omicron Covid variant. The Dow industrials finished up 1.82%, the S&P 500 advanced 1.42% and the Nasdaq gained 0.83%.

In corporate news, Didi Global  (DIDI) - Get DiDi Global Inc. Report, the Chinese ride-hailing company, said it would delist from the New York Stock Exchange and list in Hong Kong. The company went public last summer. The stock was 8.8% lower at last check.

Bloomberg in late November reported that Chinese regulators had asked the ride-hailing titan to create a plan to delist from the NYSE. China’s Cyberspace Administration, which oversees data security, was worried about the transmission of sensitive data, the news service reported.

Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc Report Chief Executive Elon Musk sold another 934,091 shares of the electric vehicle maker valued at $1.01 billion to meet tax obligations related to the exercise of options to buy 2.1 million shares. Since Nov. 8 Musk has sold more than $10 billion of Tesla stock. The stock eased 1.1%.

And Alphabet's  (GOOGL) - Get Alphabet Inc. Class A Report Google said it would indefinitely delay its plan to bring its global workforce back to its offices, due to concern about the omicron variant. It had previously set Jan. 10 for the return. The stock tacked on 0.7%.