Market Overview

Benzinga Market Primer: Friday, March 8: Non-Farm Payrolls Edition

Benzinga Market Primer: Friday, March 8: Non-Farm Payrolls Edition

Futures Rise Ahead of Non-Farm Payrolls

U.S. equity futures rose in early pre-market trading ahead of the monthly employment situation report following strong stances from major global central banks this past week. Positive employment indicators this week have led investors to believe that February's report could be stronger than previously thought.

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In other news around the markets:

  • China's trade surplus rose faster than expected in February, rising $15.25 billion vs. a forecasted drop of $6.9 billion. Exports grew faster than expected and imports fell faster than expected contributing to this faster than expected increase in the surplus.
  • The Bank of Italy issued a shocking report highlighting that Italian banks' bad loans rose by 17.5 percent in January.
  • Spanish industrial production continued to improve in January, falling 5 percent on expectations of a 5.2 percent drop and slower than the previous reading of a 6.9 percent drop.
  • S&P 500 futures rose 4.7 points to 1,542.80.
  • The EUR/USD was higher at 1.3110.
  • Spanish 10-year government bond yields fell to 4.84 percent.
  • Italian 10-year government bond yields fell to 4.58 percent.
  • Gold rose 0.13 percent to $1,577.10 per ounce.

Asian Markets

Asian shares were mostly higher save for China despite the stronger than expected trade data as investors questioned the data due to February being tough to estimate due to the effects of the Lunar New Year holiday. The Japanese Nikkei Index rose 2.64 percent while the Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.24 percent and the Hang Seng Index rose 1.41 percent. Also, the Korean Kospi rose 0.08 percent after North Korea declared the armistice void and Australian shares fell 0.52 percent on weaker than expected Chinese iron ore import data.

European Markets

European shares were mostly higher ahead of the much anticipated U.S. employment report. The Spanish Ibex Index rose 1.25 percent and the Italian FTSE MIB Index rose 0.89 percent. Meanwhile, the German DAX rose 0.57 percent and the French CAC rose 0.73 percent while U.K. shares rose 0.37 percent.


Commodities were mostly weaker overnight on Chinese growth fears following the iron ore import data. WTI Crude futures fell 0.11 percent to $91.47 per barrel and Brent Crude futures fell 0.6 percent to $110.48 per barrel. Copper futures fell 0.51 percent to $350.15 per pound. Gold was higher and silver futures fell 0.29 percent to $28.73 per ounce.


Currency markets were in flux overnight following the three large central bank decisions Thursday and ahead of the employment report. The EUR/USD was higher at 1.3110 and the dollar rose against the yen to 95.55. Overall, the Dollar Index rose 0.12 percent on strength against the yen, the Canadian dollar, and the Swiss franc. The Japanese yen resumed its slide overnight and the Australian dollar slid.

Pre-Market Movers

Stocks moving in the pre-market included:

  • Boeing (NYSE: BA) shares fell 0.3 percent pre-market after the NTSB released an interim report on the Dreamliner battery investigation, detailing the events of the battery fires but not yet attributing the fires to one cause.
  • Xerox (NYSE: XRX) shares rose 2.1 percent pre-market after the company acquired Impika to gain access to the fast-growing commercial inkjet printing equipment business.
  • Citigroup (NYSE: C) shares rose 1.44 percent pre-market after its stress test results showed it wanted to increase its buyback.
  • Ford (NYSE: F) shares fell 0.39 percent pre-market following the weakness in China overnight.


No notable companies are expected to report earnings Friday.


On the economics calendar Friday, the Employment Situation Report is due out at 8:30 am EST. Non-Farm Payrolls are expected to rise 171 thousand with private payrolls rising 195 thousand and the unemployment rate falling to 7.8 percent from 7.9 percent previously. Also, Wholesale Trade data is due out later and the Fed's Elizabeth Duke speaks tonight.

Good luck and good trading.


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