U.S. Stocks May Regain Ground Following Jobs Report
Stocks may move to the upside in early trading on Friday, regaining ground following the sell-off seen over the course of the previous session. The major index futures are currently pointing to a higher open for the markets, with the S&P 500 futures up by 0.2 percent.
Traders may look to pick up stocks are reduced levels after the steep drop seen on Thursday, which renewed the sell-off seen on Tuesday.
The sharp decline on the day dragged the Dow down to a four-month closing low, while the S&P 500 hit its lowest closing level in well over a month.
The futures moved to the upside following the release of a closely watched Labor Department showing employment in the U.S. jumped by much more than expected in the month of February.
The Labor Department said non-farm payroll employment shot up by 311,000 jobs in February after spiking by a revised 504,000 jobs in January.
Economists had expected employment to increase by 205,000 jobs compared to the surge of 517,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.
Despite the stronger than expected job growth, the report said the unemployment rate rose to 3.6 percent in February from 3.4 percent in January. The unemployment rate was expected to be unchanged.
While the report signals continued labor market tightness, which has been flagged by the Federal Reserve as a source of inflation, the data may add to hopes of a “soft landing” for the economy.
Traders may also feel that recent concerns about the outlook for interest rates have been price into the markets, allowing them to pick up stocks at reduced levels.
After failing to sustain an early move to upside, stocks moved sharply lower over the course of the trading session on Thursday. The major averages renewed the sell-off seen on Tuesday, with the Dow tumbling to its lowest closing level in four months.
The major averages climbed off their worst levels going into the close but still posted steep losses. The Dow slumped 543.54 points or 1.7 percent to 32,254.86, the Nasdaq plummeted 237.65 points or 2.1 percent to 11,338.35 and the S&P 500 plunged 73.69 points or 1.9 percent at 3,918.32.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Friday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index tumbled by 1.7 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index dove by 1.4 percent.
The major European markets have also shown significant moves to the downside on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index has plunged by 1.9 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index are down by 1.4 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively.
In commodities trading, crude oil futures are falling $0.38 to $75.34 a barrel after slumping $0.94 to $75.72 a barrel on Thursday. Meanwhile, after climbing $16 to $1,834.60 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are rising $7.80 to $1,842.40 an ounce.
On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 136.05 yen versus the 136.15 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Thursday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.0629 compared to yesterday’s $1.0581.
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