Stocks Hold Steady as Friday’s Jobs Report Looms. But First Comes Jobless Claims.
Stocks pushed slightly higher in early trade on Thursday, as investors wait for a pivotal jobs report as a raft of other U.S. economic data—including jobless claims—lies in the day ahead.
Futures for the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
pointed up around 70 points, set for an upbeat open after the index slipped 48 points on Wednesday to close at 35,312. Futures for the
indexes indicated a similarly higher start to trading.
Sentiment was little changed as investors await Friday’s closely-watched jobs report, which will give traders their next chance to guess how and when the U.S. Federal Reserve will begin slowing, or tapering, its program of monthly asset purchases. Fed Chair Jerome Powell has signalled that the central bank would be watching employment data as it mulls the end of its pandemic-era measures to add liquidity to markets.
On Wednesday, weak numbers from payroll provider ADP’s report and the ISM’s measure of factory jobs underscored the room the U.S. economy still has to grow in terms of employment. That could put Thursday’s data on initial jobless claims from last week in even greater focus ahead of Friday’s jobs report.
“Tapering nerves receded further overnight after a very soft ADP Employment number and the ISM Manufacturing PMI employment sub-index contracted,” said Jeffrey Halley, an analyst at broker OANDA. “That has taken the heat out of expectations for this Friday’s U.S. nonfarm payrolls data and further reinforced Fed Chairman Powell’s cautious approach in the markets’ minds.”
In Asia, Tokyo’s
climbed 0.3% while the
Hong Kong Hang Seng Index
lifted 0.2%. The
pushed 0.8% higher.
Asian stocks were boosted by a move from the People’s Bank of China to provide RMB 300 billion ($46.4 billion) of low-cost funds to banks for the purpose of lending to small and medium-sized companies.
“Besides this the PBoC has also announced other measures such as interest subsidies to firms hit hard by the pandemic and a bigger role for local special bonds in driving investment. This has helped Chinese stock markets to outperform overnight,” said Jim Reid, a strategist at
China’s crackdown on technology companies continued. The Ministry of Transport summoned ride-hailing firms including
(HK: 3690), and
‘s ((BA)(BA)) AMAP with an order to fix issues across data security, competition, and labor practices by the end of the year.
In terms of corporate earnings,
Hewlett Packard Enterprise
(HPE) reports results alongside
American Eagle Outfitters
(AVGO), and others.