S&P 500, Nasdaq Futures Point To Lackluster Start As Friday's Jobs Report, Pre-Holiday Mood Keeps Sentiment Subdued

Zinger Key Points
  • Stronger-than-expected growth in jobs could trigger worries concerning aggressive rate hikes.
  • Trading activity could be light ahead of the Labor Day weekend.

The major U.S. index futures point to a nervous start on Friday, as investors choose to exercise restraint ahead of the non-farm payrolls report for August.

Thursday, U.S. stocks closed mixed, with the Dow Industrials and the S&P 500 Index advancing moderately, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite fell for the fifth straight session. The sell-off in the tech space followed the U.S. government’s move to restrict AI chip sales to China, which would have an impact on the U.S. chipmakers.

Healthcare and utility stocks led the turnaround, although energy, material, and information technology stocks came under selling pressure. Notwithstanding the recovery seen in the broader market and the blue chips, the major averages are either trading at or just off their 5-week lows.

U.S. Indices' Performance On Tuesday
Index Performance (+/-)   Value
Nasdaq Composite -0.26%   11,785.13
S&P 500 Index +0.30%   3,966.85
Dow Industrials +0.46%   31,656.42

Here’s a peek into index futures trading:

U.S. Futures' Performance On Wednesday During Premarket Session
Index Performance (+/-)  
Nasdaq 100 Futures -0.28%  
S&P 500 Futures -0.12%  
Dow Futures -0.07%  
R2K Futures -0.50%  

In premarket trading on Friday, the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust SPY was edging down 0.09% to $396.08, and the Invesco QQQ Trust QQQ was moving down 0.20% to $298.79, according to Benzinga Pro data.

The spotlight of Friday’s trading session is likely to be on the labor department’s non-farm payrolls report for August. The data is due at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists, on average, expect the economy to have added 300,000 jobs in the month, a slowdown from the 528,000 increase in July.
The unemployment rate, based on the household survey, is expected to remain unchanged at 3.5%.

Investors are also likely to focus on the year-over-year increase in average hourly earnings, which was at 5.2% in July.

LPL Financial chief economist Jeffrey Roach said he would watch out for any revisions to previous data, job growth across the services and goods-producing sector and the employment to population ratio.

The U.S. Census Bureau will release the final durable goods orders data for July at 10 a.m. ET.

See also: Portfolio Warning: Why September Is Historically Rough For The Stock Market

Companies In Focus

  • Starbucks Corporation SBUX investors could react to the news of the coffee chain retailer naming a new CEO.
  • Hollysys Automation Technologies Ltd. HOLI is rallying after Reuters reported the automation and control system company’s management is planning to take it private.
  • Retailer Lululemon Athletica Inc. LULU is advancing following its beat-and-raise quarter.
  • Chipmaker Broadcom Inc AVGO is reacting to strong quarterly results and guidance, and this could help mitigate the weakness in the semiconductor space.

Commodities And Global Markets

Crude oil futures are seen snapping a three-session slide — advancing by over 2%. Asian stocks closed mostly lower but the European markets are seen higher ahead of the U.S. jobs data.

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Posted In: EarningsNewsGuidanceFuturesPreviewsSmall CapTop StoriesEconomicsPre-Market OutlookMarketsTrading IdeasAugust Jobs reportNasdaq futuresS&P 500 futures
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