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U.S. STOCK INDEXES
GENERAL STOCK MARKET COMMENT: The U.S. stock indexes closed weaker again today. Stock index bulls have faded recently. The key “outside markets” on Thursday saw the U.S. dollar index again higher on more short covering and bargain hunting after prices hit an eight-month low on Tuesday. If the greenback can post a weekly high close on Friday that would be an early clue that the dollar index has put in a near-term bottom. The rebound in the dollar index has put some selling pressure into raw commodity markets. Meantime, Nymex crude oil prices were higher in afternoon U.S. trading Thursday, but well off the session high and hovering just above $44.00 a barrel. As goes crude oil, so, too, will likely go the raw commodity sector, and stock indexes. Traders and investors are looking ahead to Friday's U.S. jobs report for April from the Labor Department—arguably the most important U.S. economic report of the month. The key non-farm payrolls number is expected to show a rise of 205,000 in April. However, Wednesday's weak ADP jobs number (up 156,000) calls into question whether the Friday jobs number can meet expectations. Look for more active trading in the markets in the immediate aftermath of the 8:30 a.m. eastern time release of the report.