Opening View: U.S. Stock Futures Flat Ahead of December Jobs Data


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Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) and the S&P 500 Index (SPX) are trading relatively flat versus fair value this morning, as Wall Street is on pins and needles ahead of today's December employment data. Economists expect that the U.S. economy created 175,000 jobs in December, up from an earlier prediction of 143,000. The unemployment rate is expected to hold steady at 9.8%. Given stocks' run higher heading into the report (the SPX is up about 1.3% in January), investors may have already priced in strong employment data.

Technically, the DJIA is currently trading between short-term support/resistance at the 11,650 and 11,750 levels. The Dow has additional support at the 11,600 level, should things turn sour following the jobs data, while the 11,800 area will be tough to overcome. As for the SPX, the index is facing resistance at the 1,280 level, with support in the 1,270 area. A more solid backstop should emerge near 1,260 if selling pressure emerges.

In equity news, Liz Claiborne ( LIZ ) said that its fourth-quarter financial results will miss its previously announced targets. That would place second-half operating income up by between $40 million and $50 million, below the previously stated target of $80 million.

Finally, Immucor Inc. ( BLUD ) posted a fiscal second-quarter profit of $21.1 million, or 30 cents per share, up from $19.7 million, or 28 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Sales for the quarter 1% to $81.5 million. Analysts were expecting earnings of 27 cents per share on revenue of $80.3 million.

Earnings Preview

On the earnings front, AZZ Incorporated ( AZZ ) and Robbins & Myers Inc. ( RBN ) are slated to release their quarterly reports. Keep your browser at for more news as it breaks.

Economic Calendar

The much-anticipated December nonfarm payrolls report and the unemployment rate will arrive later this morning.

Market Statistics

Equity option activity on the CBOE saw 1,832,584 call contracts traded on Thursday, compared to 886,709 put contracts. The resultant single-session put/call ratio arrived at 0.48, while the 21-day moving average held at 0.51.

Volatility indices

NYSE and Nasdaq summary

**The volume data shown above is from the Nasdaq and NYSE exchanges only. It does not include regional volume activity, which means that other daily volume quotes you see may be higher.**

Dow, S&P and Nasdaq futures

Overseas Trading

Overseas trading is mixed this morning, with only half of the 10 foreign indexes that we track in positive territory. The cumulative average return on the collective stands at a loss of 0.37%. Asian trading was mixed once again, with Japanese stocks rallying on strength from exporters, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng snapped a seven-session winning streak. In Europe, debt concerns once again plagued trading, ahead of an upcoming bond issuance by Portugal, and the ongoing political stalemate in Belgium.

Overseas markets

Currencies and Commodities

Driven by Wall Street's elevated expectations for a strong December jobs report, the U.S. dollar has risen versus most of its major foreign competitors this morning, posting notable gains against the euro and the yen. At last check, the U.S. Dollar Index was up 0.21% at 80.96. Crude futures are following the dollar higher, rising 33 cents to $88.71 per barrel on hopes for and improving economic outlook. However, metals are not joining in the rally, with gold futures dropping $13.60 to $1,358.10 an ounce in London. Sliver futures are leading the decline, plunging 66 cents, or 2.27%, to $28.47 an ounce.

Currencies and commodities

Unusual Put and Call Activity:

For an explanation of how to use this information, check out our Education Center topics on Option Volume and Open Interest Configurations .

Unusual options activity - puts

Unusual options activity - calls

Every morning, our research staff analyzes the prior day and the overnight markets, and monitors the morning wires to give you an accurate preview of the day to come. If you enjoyed today's edition of Opening View, sign up here for free daily delivery, straight to your inbox, before the opening bell.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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This article appears in: Investing Options
Referenced Stocks: AZZ , BLUD , LIZ , RBN

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