Stocks prices stayed relatively flat Thursday, as investors prepared for tomorrow’s jobs report—the data highlight of the week and often, the information that sets the tone for the month.
Yesterday, stocks suffered a second consecutive losing day after a payrolls report—often seen as a precursor to the jobs report—showed only 212,000 new jobs created in February. Not only was this figure lower than expected, it was the lowest number overall since August of last year.
Even a strong day for oil prices—U.S. crude reached the $50 per barrel marker—could save the Dow and S&P from posting losses for the second consecutive session, after each index set an all-time high on Monday.
Perhaps the highlight of the Thursday session was an announcement from the European Central Bank. The ECB confirmed that the region’s bond-buying program would commence this coming Monday. ECB President Mario Draghi estimated the program would last approximately 18 months.
As of 2 p.m., here are Thursday’s numbers on Wall Street:
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 18,116.18 (+19.28)
NASDAQ: 4,977.15 (+10.01)
S&P 500: 2,099.67 (+1.14)