Nov. 10, 2003 — Stocks are expected to open slightly lower on as investors pull back from last week’s highs and focus on the threat of rising interest rates after recent batches of strong economic data. Stocks hit long-time highs on Friday, after positive employment numbers, but ended the session down as concerns over recent lofty share price gains dampened enthusiasm. The U.S. economy added 126,000 nonfarm jobs last month, marking the third straight monthly gain, while the unemployment rate slipped to 6.0% from 6.1% in September.
Markets are more likely to trade flat or slightly down this week as investors wait for the next economic data scheduled for Thursday with international trade and weekly initial jobless claims numbers. As the third-quarter earnings season draws to a close, only a few major companies are reporting, including El Paso Corp. (EP) and Tyson Foods Inc. (TSN), the nation’s largest meat company, which posted higher quarterly earnings due in part to strong beef sales.
Investors may also keep a close eye on J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM), which regulators are probing to determine if brokers improperly sold mutual fund shares to boost commissions, according to the New York Times. MetLife Inc. (MET) also said late on Friday that unnamed regulatory agencies have asked for information relating to market timing and late trading of mutual fund shares and variable insurance products.