Investing.com - U.S. stock futures pointed to a steady open on Friday, ahead of the release of highly anticipated U.S. employment data, while comments by Federal Reserve officials dampened market sentiment.
Ahead of the open, the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.04% dip, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.03% gain, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.10% rise.
Markets were jittery after the minutes of the Fed's December policy meeting showed that officials began debating an end to bond-buying as early as this year even while preparing to boost stimulus to a new record.
In addition, the minutes revealed concerns over a balance sheet that may grow to more than USD4 trillion while potentially distorting financial markets and providing less support to growth.
Investors also remained cautious over the longer term outlook in the U.S., with negotiations on raising the debt ceiling still to come in February.
Tech stocks were expected to be active, as New York State's USD150-billion public pension fund reportedly sued Qualcomm, with hopes of forcing the chipmaker to reveal its political spending. Shares in Qualcomm dropped 0.40% in pre-market trade.
The financial sector was also likely to be in focus, as Citigroup climbed 0.51% in early trading, after as Goldman Sachs Inc. added the lender to its conviction-buy list.
Elsewhere, Coinstar tumbled 3.29% in after-hour trade after saying CEO Paul Davis will retire on March 31. The owner of the Redbox movie-rental kiosks added that Chief Financial Officer J. Scott Di Valerio will take over.
In Internet-related stocks, Google was slated to move as the Federal Trade Commission closed its investigation against the company for antitrust violations Thursday.
The FTC investigated Google for nearly two years for various business practices, primarily concerning how the company displays search results.
Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were lower. The EURO STOXX 50 fell 0.29%, France's CAC 40 dropped 0.45%, Germany's DAX slipped 0.25%, while Britain's FTSE 100 edged 0.11% lower.
During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index slipped 0.29%, while Japan's Nikkei 225 Index surged 2.82%.
Later in the day, the U.S. was to produce official data on nonfarm payrolls and the overall unemployment rate. In addition, the Institute of Supply Management was to release a report on service sector activity.
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