U.S. Futures Becalmed as Market Waits for Key Jobs Number

imageStock Markets50 minutes ago (Jul 02, 2021 07:01AM ET)

(C) Reuters.

By Peter Nurse – U.S. stocks are seen opening marginally higher Friday, but firmly range-bound as the market awaits the closely-watched nonfarm payrolls report.

At 7:05 AM ET (1105 GMT), the Dow Futures contract was up 10 points, less than 0.1%, S&P 500 Futures traded up 2 points or 0.1%, and Nasdaq 100 Futures climbed 30 points, or 0.2%.

The main equity indices all saw strong gains in the first half of the year as vaccinations allowed the economy to reopen against the backdrop of massive levels of monetary and fiscal stimulus.

This continued on Thursday, as the S&P 500 rose 0.5%, notching its sixth-straight record close and finishing above 4,300 for the first time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.4% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rose 0.1%.

The main focus Friday will be on the nonfarm payrolls release, at 8:30 AM ET (1230 GMT), with the Federal Reserve looking for a significant recovery in the U.S. labor market before considering reining in its ultra-easy monetary policy.

Expectations at the start of the week were for 700,000 jobs to have been filled last month, up from 559,000 in May. That said, both ADP and weekly initial claims were stronger than expected, so expectations may have now risen.

In corporate news, Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) will also be in the spotlight after the drugmaker reported that a new study indicated that its single-shot vaccine offered strong protection against the highly transmissible delta variant of the Covid-19 virus.

Virgin Galactic (NYSE:SPCE) will also be in demand after the space travel company said it will launch founder Richard Branson and a full crew into space by July 11.

Crude oil prices edged lower Friday, but remained at very high levels after a meeting of top producers failed to agree on future production levels.

By 7:05 AM ET, U.S. crude was down 0.1% at $75.17 a barrel, after climbing above $75 during the previous session for the first time since 2018, while Brent was down 0.2% at $75.71.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, a group known as OPEC+, has reconvened a meeting aimed at deciding the amount of oil to return to the market after the United Arab Emirates blocked a deal at the last minute on Thursday.

The group, known as OPEC+, appeared to have come to a preliminary agreement to boost output by 400,000 barrels a day each month from August to December before the UAE’s dramatic intervention.

Traders will also keep an eye on the Baker Hughes oil rig count, as well as the CFTC speculative positioning data later in the session.

U.S. Futures Becalmed as Market Waits for Key Jobs Number

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