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US STOCKS-Futures edge higher ahead of non-farm payrolls data

Credit: REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

U.S. stock index futures edged higher on Friday as signs of a fast recovering global economy boosted sentiment ahead of data that is expected to show the U.S. economy created nearly a million jobs in April.

By Shreyashi Sanyal

May 7 (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures edged higher on Friday as signs of a fast recovering global economy boosted sentiment ahead of data that is expected to show the U.S. economy created nearly a million jobs in April.

The Labor Department's closely watched employment report comes a day after an upbeat reading on weekly jobless claims, and will be the first to show the impact of the White House's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 pandemic rescue package approved in March.

A Reuters poll of economists showed nonfarm payrolls likely increased by 978,000 jobs last month after rising by 916,000 in March.

The data, due at 8:30 a.m. ET, is also expected to show that the unemployment rate fell to 5.8% from 6.0% and average hourly earnings slowed to a 0.4% drop after a 4.2% increase in March.

Investors will be looking for hints on monetary policy, as a stronger-than-forecast reading could spur bets that the Federal Reserve will reduce its massive stimulus program.

"The dilemma investors are facing right now is that while strong U.S. economic data is positive news, the accelerating growth is increasing the risk of an overheating economy and the Federal Reserve being forced to hike rates early," said Milan Cutkovic, market analyst at Axi.

Most stocks traded in a tight range before the opening bell, with mega-cap growth stocks such as Microsoft Corp MSFT.O, Apple Inc AAPL.O, Amazon.com Inc AMZN.O and Facebook Inc FB.O rising between 0.2% and 0.6%.

Economically sensitive cyclical stocks also firmed, with planemaker Boeing Co BA.N up 0.4%, lender Goldman Sachs Group Inc GS.N rising 0.5% and oil major Chevron Corp CVX.N gaining 0.1%.

At 7:01 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis 1YMcv1 were up 85 points, or 0.25%, S&P 500 e-minis EScv1 were up 9.75 points, or 0.23%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQcv1 were up 36.25 points, or 0.27%.

The Nasdaq Composite index .IXIC is set to fall 2.3% this week, its worst weekly decline since late February. The S&P 500 .SPX and the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI indexes, however, are on track for weekly gains.

Cigna Corp CI.N rose 0.8% as the health insurer raised its forecasts for full-year profit and revenue.

(Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal and Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)

((Shreyashi.Sanyal@thomsonreuters.com; +1 646 223 8780; +91 961 144 3740; Twitter: https://twitter.com/s_shreyashi;))

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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