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U.S. Stock Futures Pause Ahead of Jobs Data

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By Anna Hirtenstein 

U.S. stock futures wavered Friday ahead of fresh jobs data that is expected to show a strong recovery in the labor market following last year’s downturn.

Futures tied to the S&P 500 ticked up less than 0.1%, a day after the broad-market index closed near its all-time high. Nasdaq-100 futures edged 0.2% higher, suggesting muted gains in technology stocks. Futures linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average held steady after the blue-chips index notched a closing record Thursday.

Stocks are poised for a second week of muted gains, with sentiment bolstered by signs of a strengthening economy and Federal Reserve officials reiterated pledges to refrain from tightening monetary policy until the labor market is recovered. Energy producers, banks and other firms that would benefit from the economy reopening have rallied this week, while technology firms have been among the poorest performers.

“This week was really still a combination of the post-Covid recovery and how interest-rate policy will respond,” said Kiran Ganesh, a multiasset strategist at UBS Global Wealth Management. “The performance of some cyclical stocks and commodities suggests that this reopening trade is still on track.”

Data to be released at 8:30 a.m. ET is likely to show that employers added jobs at a robust pace for the second straight month in April, signaling a speedy economic recovery. Economists expect payrolls grew by one million in April after rising by 916,000 in March. They project the unemployment rate fell to 5.8%, down from 6% in March and a record-high 14.8% last April when the pandemic struck.

Investors are “trying to gauge the extent to which policy makers are going to keep monetary stimulus in place and whether we’re tipping over into the stage where good economic data starts to be a problem for financial markets because it brings forward the time the central banks start very tentatively tightening policy,” said Sebastian Mackay, a multiasset fund manager at Invesco. “I think we’re getting there.”

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note edged up to 1.565%, from 1.561% on Thursday, steadying after five consecutive days of declines.

Earnings season continues, with self-driving truck company Nikola among those reporting Friday.

“We’re still in a cyclical upswing, which should drive equities higher on average,” Mr. Mackay said. “On average, most of the earnings numbers have been at or above expectations. It is about delivery of those expectations of earnings needed to sustain equities.”

In commodities, copper prices surpassed their 2011 highs and were on course to close at a record, fueled by bets on the global economic rebound and on rising demand from efforts to decarbonize the power and transportation sectors. Three-month copper forwards rose 1.2% to $10,232 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange. In New York, copper futures on CME Group’s Comex rose 1.2% to $4.66 a pound.

Overseas, the pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 climbed 0.4%. Among European equities, Adidas jumped over 7% after reporting quarterly revenue that beat analysts’ expectations.

The Shanghai Composite Index pulled back 0.7% by the close of trading, and Japan’s Nikkei 225 advanced 0.1%.

Write to Anna Hirtenstein at [email protected]

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 07, 2021 05:16 ET (09:16 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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