Stocks open lower on Wall Street; AMC falls on share sale

Stocks are opening lower on Wall Street Thursday, erasing the market’s gains for the week. Technology companies, which had risen a day earlier, were among the biggest losers. The S&P 500 was off 0.6%. AMC Entertainment fell after the movie theater operator said it would sell more shares following a huge run-up in its stock price this year. The job market is a big focus for investors this week, and they’ll be looking closely at the government’s monthly employment report due out Friday. On Thursday the government reported that the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell last week for a fifth straight week.

European shares are lower after a mixed session in Asia, with benchmarks falling in Paris, London and Hong Kong while Tokyo and Seoul advanced.

In a quiet news week, investors are watching for a U.S. Labor Department report on Friday that economists forecast will show employers added more than 650,000 jobs last month. It is expected to yield fresh clues about the Federal Reserve’s next interest rate policy moves later this month, when the central bank holds its next meeting of policymakers.

Expectations of a strong increase in hiring have stoked worries about inflation and how world central banks may respond to it. The concern is that the global recovery could be hampered if governments and central banks have to withdraw stimulus to combat rising prices.

“Equity markets have taken signs that inflation is on the rise in their stride recently, and we suspect that they will continue to do so for some time yet,” Oliver Jones of Capital Economics said in a commentary.

Rapid price increases are outpacing the recovery of demand, partly due to supply bottlenecks, and will likely abate over time, he said.

Britain’s FTSE 100 dropped 0.7% to 7,060.01 while the CAC 40 in Paris slipped 0.1% to 6,517.74. Germany’s DAX also fell 0.1%, to 15,591.02. The futures for the S&P 500 and for the Dow industrials were 0.1% lower.

In Asian trading, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index rose 0.4% to 29,058.11, while the Shanghai Composite index lost 0.4% to 3,584.21. South Korea’s Kospi jumped 0.7% to 3,247.43, helped by an overnight rally in technology shares, which favor market heavyweights like Samsung Electronics.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.6% to 7,260.10, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost 1.1% to 28,966.03.

News reports in Japan said the government is considering extra support for the economy as the country endures another bout of coronavirus outbreaks while it ramps up vaccinations ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, which are due to begin late next month.

On Wednesday, the benchmark S&P 500 rose 0.1% to 4,208.12 as strength in technology, energy and real estate stocks offset a pullback in retailers and other companies that rely on consumer spending.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged 0.1% higher, to 34,600.38. The Nasdaq recovered from an early slide, adding 0.1% to 13,756.33.

Small-company stocks also notched modest gains. The Russell 2000 index rose 0.1% to 2,297.83.

Shares in movie theater operator AMC Entertainment nearly doubled in another bout of heavy trading as the company embraced its status as a “meme” stock being driven higher by hordes of individual investors. Other stocks like GameStop that have been championed on online message boards and social media also rose.

The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note ticked up to 1.60% from 1.59%.

U.S. benchmark crude shed 1 cent to $68.82 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It picked up $1.11 to $68.83 per barrel on Wednesday. Brent crude, the international pricing benchmark, was unchanged at $71.35 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar was trading at 109.77 Japanese yen, up from 109.57 yen late Wednesday. The euro slipped to $1.2194 from $1.2212.