Stocks traded in a narrow range on Thursday, with investors focused on the monthly employment data and what it might mean for Fed policy. Bobbi Rebell reports.
Stocks began September trading in a narrow range. Gains in the tech sector helping investors shake off sluggish factory activity data and a decline in oil prices. Investors generally cautious ahead of Friday's jobs report, and a slew of data coming this month. Shannon Saccocia of Boston Private Wealth: (SOUNDBITE) SHANNON SACCOCIA, HEAD OF ASSET ALLOCATION & PORTFOLIO STRATEGY, BOSTON PRIVATE WEALTH, (ENGLISH ) SAYING: "This is really a critical start to what has been one of the most important months to the market over the course of the last year. We have the jobs report which is going to help the Fed decide whether they are going to hike rates in September followed by multiple meetings. Bank of England, European Central Bank, BOE, OPEC, first Presidential election debate. So we've got a big month ahead of us. And everyone is coming back to school and right into this flurry of data." Wal-Mart is slashing 7,000 jobs mostly in back office positions, like accounting. The retailer employs about 1.5 million people in the United States. Auto sales fell about 4.2 percent in August. Top automakers saying a long-expected sales decline has begun and that could spark a shift to more customer incentives and slower production. In Europe, the major country indexes were mixed in the first trading day of the month.