Many Eyes on U.S. Jobless Claims

Investors will keep a close eye on weekly jobless claims on Thursday for indications that the economic growth trend is still positive and support a Federal Reserve interest rate hike sooner rather than later.

Stocks traded choppily on Wednesday, searching for direction on the release of the Federal Open Market Committee’s March meeting minutes that showed policymakers were divided over the timing of a rate hike.

“The Fed—in reading through the minutes—they’re very focused on a sustained and consistent data trend. The one-offs are not going to affect them,” said Chris Gaffney, president of EverBank World Markets. “Tomorrow’s jobs data will probably hold a bit more importance than usual.”