Stocks Ended Mostly Lower, Oil Dropped

U.S. stocks finished mostly lower on Thursday, tracking lower oil prices as investors turned cautious ahead of the crucial jobs report Friday. The Dow industrial Average shed 22.74 points, or 0.13%, to 17,895.88. The S&P 500 fell 1.83 points, or 0.09%, to 2,097.90. The Nasdaq Composite gained 17.65 points, or 0.36%, to 4,876.81.

Oil futures dropped by nearly 5% Thursday to settle at their lowest level in two months after U.S. government data showed a smaller-than-expected weekly decline in crude-oil inventories. August West Texas Intermediate crude fell $2.29, or 4.8%, to settle at $45.14 a barrel. Brent crude lost $2.40, or 4.9%, to $46.40 a barrel.

U.S. private payrolls increased more than expected in June as small businesses ramped up hiring, and fewer Americans applied forunemployment benefits last week, suggesting a rebound in job growth after May’s paltry gains.

The U.S. Justice Department filed a petition in court on Wednesday to force Facebook (FB, Tech30) to comply with an ongoing IRS investigation into whether the company significantly understated the value of property transferred to an Ireland subsidiary as part of a complex maneuver to reduce its tax payments.

Executives of the biggest U.S. investment banks met British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne seeking to maintain London’s status as a premier financial hub after U.K voters decided to split from the European Union. The gathering in which Osborne sought to highlight the U.K.’s comparative strengths included Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s Michael Sherwood, Robert Rooney of Morgan Stanley, Alex Wilmot-Sitwell of Bank of America, Bill Winters of Standard Chartered Plc and JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Viswas Raghavan.

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