With the government entering the third day of a partial shutdown and no expected end in the near term, markets turned their attention to economic data, which disappointed investors and sent stocks lower. Additionally, the Treasury Department remained silent regarding what it would do should Congress fail to raise the debt ceiling within the next two weeks, fueling more market concerns amid the current congressional impasse. The department did warn of the consequences if lawmakers don't reach an agreement.
As a result of the shutdown, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that it will not release its monthly payrolls report Friday, as most had expected.
Initial jobless claims for the week ended Sept. 28 edged up by 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted reading of 308,000. The increase came in lower than the expected tally of 314,000 claims, and the four-week moving average declined by nearly 4,000. However, continuing claims for the week ended Sept. 21, increased by 104,000.
Meanwhile, the Institute for Supply Management's nonmanufacturing purchasing managers' index declined to 54.4 last month from August's reading of 58.6. The September index was a worse decrease than the expected reading of 57.0. Although the most recent index, coming in higher than 50, shows expanding services-sector activity, near-term economic uncertainty contributed to the decline. Treasury prices rose following the report.
Stocks on the Move
Major corporate news was slow Thursday as companies prepare for the fall earnings season.
Overseas stocks were mixed as global markets weighed data alongside the U.S. government shutdown. The Nikkei 225 fell by 0.1%, but the Hang Seng gained 1.0%. Markets on mainland China remained closed for a holiday.