By Margreet Dietz
Sept. 2 (BusinessDesk) - The latest US labour market data will take centre stage in the coming days, while central bank meetings in Europe, the UK and Japan and any developments regarding potential military action against Syria will play out in the background.
On Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average weakened 0.21 percent, while the Standard & Poor's 500 Index slid 0.32 percent and the Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 0.84 percent. For the week, the Dow shed 1.3 percent, the S&P 500 declined 1.8 percent, while the Nasdaq fell 1.9 percent.
For the month of August, the Dow gave up 4.4 percent, while the S&P 500 retreated 3.1 percent. September has traditionally been the worst month for stocks, according to Reuters, with an average 0.6 percent decline in the S&P 500 index over the past 62 years, although it rose 2.4 percent last September.
US markets are closed on Monday for the Labor Day holiday.
The key economic data released this week include the ADP Employment Report and weekly jobless claims, both due Thursday, followed by the government's payrolls report on Friday.
US employers likely hired 180,000 workers in August, up from 162,000 in July, while the jobless rate likely held steady at 7.4 percent, according to a Reuters poll.
The pace of recovery in the labour market is a crucial benchmark for Fed policy makers, who will next meet on September 17-18, in their assessment of the future of their bond-buying program. The Fed currently is buying bonds at a pace of US$85 billion a month.