US stocks closed lower in a choppy trading session weighed down by renewed fears on Greece defaulting its loans and Fresh economic data in the US that made a 2015 interest rate hike appear more likely.
The S&P 500 Index ended 18.23 points or 0.9% lower at 2095.4 with all ten of its key indexes ending down.
The Dow Jones Industrial average closed 170.69 points or 0.95 lower at 17,905.38 while the Nasdaq Composite ended 40.11 or 0.8% lower at 5059.42.
“The concern is tomorrow and the jobs number, that is where all the focus is,” Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Group in Bedford Hills, New York, told Reuters.
“Probably the concern (is) that it is going to be a good number
In the latest twist in Greece’s ongoing talks with its international lenders, Athens told the International Monetary Fund that it was intending to bundle the four loan repayments due in June, with the earliest one due on Friday, into a single payment on June 30.
The move fuelled increasing concern that Greece would default on the repayment of its loans and possibly exit the Eurozone.
Also fuelling the selloff on Thursday was news for the government that weekly jobless claims fell by 276,000 last week, pointing towards stability in the job market
Productivity also fell by a revised 3.1% in the first quarter this year, in line with expectations by market analysts.
Analysts point towards this and a raft of economic reports released on Thursday to suggest that the Federal Reserve could be seriously considering hiking the interest rates by the end of the year.
This is despite comments by the IMF president Christine Largarde urging the Fed to hold on to plans of raising the interest rates until next year as a premature increase would cause the economy to stall.
“Productivity continues to be declining, and if that continues that will lead to rising wages,” said Sameer Samana, senior global strategist at Wells Fargo Investment Institute.
“Higher pay would make the Fed cut back on its stimulus measures, and it also hurts companies’ profits,” Samana told MarketWatch.
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