US stocks end little changed amid mixed data

New York, Oct 2 (IANS) The US stocks ended little changed after volatile trading on Thursday, as investors digested a mixed bag of economic reports amid International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief’s remarks on global economy.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average inched down 12.69 points, or 0. 08 percent, to 16,272.01. The S&P 500 rose 3.79 points, or 0.20 percent, to 1,923.82. The Nasdaq Composite Index added 6.92 points, or 0.15 percent, to 4,627.08, Xinhua news agency reported.

In the week ending September 26, the advance figure for seasonally-adjusted initial jobless claims increased by 10,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level to 277,000, above market consensus of 272,000, said the US Labour Department on Thursday.

The four-week moving average remained at a very low level of 270,750, a decrease of 1,000 from the previous week’s unrevised average, suggesting continued strength in the labour market.

The US September manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) registered 50.2 percent, a decrease of 0.9 percentage points from the August reading of 51.1 percent, said the Institute Supply Management (ISM) Thursday.

“The combination of slowing global demand and a strong dollar is taking its toll on domestic manufactures,” said Jay Morelock, an economist at FTN Financial, in a note.

The US Commerce Department announced Thursday that construction spending during August 2015 was estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1,086.2 bn, 0.7 percent above the revised July estimate, beating market expectations.

Investors are also keeping a close eye on Friday’s highly-watched non-farm payrolls report for clues to the strength of the US economy.

Meanwhile, in the curtain-raising speech for the IMF-World Bank annual meetings Wednesday, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said the global economy is approaching closer to a “new mediocre” scenario — the risk of low growth for a long time.

Lagarde expected that global growth will likely be weaker this year than last year, with only a modest acceleration expected in 2016 given the disappointing and uneven growth of the world economy.

The IMF is expected to downgrade its outlook for the global economy in its flag-ship report World Economic Outlook, which will be released at the annual meetings in Peru next week.

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