Stocks Finish Mixed; March Jobs Report Looms
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stocks finished on a mixed note on Thursday as Wall Street balanced expectations for a positive jobs report on Friday against concerns about Spain's soaring borrowing costs.
The Nasdaq, however, bucked the selling and rose 12 points, or 0.4%, to settle at 3080.
The major U.S. equity indices traded within a narrow range through most of the trading session, which comes ahead of a long holiday weekend as the exchanges will be closed tomorrow for Good Friday. For the week, the Dow was down 1.2%, the S&P 500 dipped 0.7%, and the Nasdaq fell 0.4%, kicking off the calendar second quarter on a negative note.
The biggest selling came on Wednesday as Wall Street digested a clear signal from the Federal Reserve on Tuesday that more quantitative easing was far from a done deal. The minutes of the most recent meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee indicated support for more asset purchases was scant unless the economy takes a turn for the worse. That news drove the dollar higher and sparked selling in gold and oil.
Early Thursday, the action in the broad market mirrored a sell-off in risk assets during the European session as yields on Spanish 10-year bonds rose another 12 basis points to 5.81%. The yields reached a pinnacle for the year and raced past levels seen when the European Central Bank installed the first leg of its long-term refinancing program on Dec. 21 by more than 50 basis points.
The tepid demand for Spanish debt was a reminder that the country could be next in line for a bailout as global investors showed they were not yet prepared to hold the country's bonds without a higher risk premium.