Stock futures point to gains ahead of jobs report

Stock futures point to gains ahead of jobs report

US equity futures traded higher heading into the final trading day of the week and before the release of the monthly jobs report.

The major futures indexes suggest a gain of 0.3% when trading begins on Wall Street.

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The most anticipated economic report of the month will be released Friday morning.

The US economy is expected to have added 490,000 new nonfarm jobs in March. That follows a much larger than expected gain of 678,000 in February. The unemployment rate is anticipated to slip to 3.7%, down from 3.8% the prior month and the lowest since February 2020.

STRONG JOB GAINS EXPECTED IN MARKET EMPLOYMENT REPORT

After the March jobs report, the big number to watch Friday will be the ISM’s manufacturing purchasing managers index for March. It’s expected to edge up slightly to 59.0, the highest since November. A number above 50 signals expansion.

Also, watch for construction spending to jump 1.0% in February, just below the previous month’s 1.3% gain.

Storage tanks are seen at Marathon Petroleum’s Los Angeles Refinery, which processes domestic & imported crude oil. Picture taken with a drone. (REUTERS/Bing Guan/Reuters Photos)

Oil prices turned higher early Friday morning ahead of a meeting of consuming nations to discuss a new release of emergency oil reserves alongside the release announced by the United States.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures added 54 cents to $100.75 a barrel. The contract slumped 7% on Thursday.

Brent futures gained $1.30 to $106.04 a barrel, after dropping 5.6% on Thursday.

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Asian shares were mostly lower Friday as a resurgence of Russian attacks dashed hopes for any quick end to the war in Ukraine.

In Japan, the quarterly gauge of business sector sentiment dropped for the first time in seven quarters.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 slipped 0.6%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.2% and China’s Shanghai Composite added 0.9%.

Shares in electronics and energy giant Toshiba Corp. jumped 6.5% on news that Bain Capital might make an offer to acquire the company and take it private. Toshiba said it was not involved in any such talks.

Bitcoin traded around $44,000.

Wall Street closed out its worst quarter since the pandemic broke out two years ago.

Ticker Security Last Exchange Change %
I: DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 34678.35 -550.46 -1.56%
SP500 S&P500 4530.41 -72.04 -1.57%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 14220.518711 -221.76 -1.54%

The S&P 500 lost 1.6% to 4,530.41. Its loss since the beginning of the year is 4.9%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also fell 1.6% to 34,678.35. The Nasdaq composite fell 1.5% to 14,220.52.

Both indexes also notched gains for March, thanks largely to a market rally in the two weeks heading into this week.

An inflation gauge that is closely monitored by the US Federal Reserve jumped 6.4% in February compared with a year ago, marking the largest year-over-year rise since January 1982.

GameStop said it would request shareholder approval at its annual meeting for an increase in the number of shares of the videogame retailer to enable a stock split. Shares rose roughly 15% in after hours trading.

Technology and communications stocks were among the biggest weights on the market. Chipmaker Intel fell 3.6%, while Facebook parent Meta Platforms slid 2.4%.

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Banks also fell along with bond yields, which forces interest rates on loans lower, making lending less profitable for banks. The yield on the 10-year Treasury slipped to 2.34% from 2.36% late Wednesday. In Asia early Friday the yield on the 10-year Treasury rebounded to 2.39%.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.