U.S. Futures Edge Lower; Nonfarm Payrolls in Focus

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U.S. Futures Edge Lower; Nonfarm Payrolls in Focus

By Peter Nurse   

Investing.com - U.S. stocks are seen opening in muted fashion Friday, at the end of a volatile week driven by news surrounding the omicron Covid variant and ahead of the release of the key monthly U.S. employment report.

At 7 AM ET (1200 GMT), the Dow Futures contract was down 20 points, or 0.1%, S&P 500 Futures traded 3 points, or 0.1%, lower and Nasdaq 100 Futures dropped 10 points, or 0.1%.

The major indices rebounded Thursday, with the blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average gaining over 600 points, or 1.8%, the broad-based S&P 500 rose 1.4% and the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.8%.

However, despite these gains, the indices are on course for a losing week, marked by turbulent trading as investors tried to digest the economic repercussions of the new Omicron variant. The Dow and the Nasdaq are each about 0.7% lower on the week, while the S&P 500 is down 0.4%.

The Biden administration announced new rules late Thursday, to take effect on Monday, requiring international air travelers arriving in the United States to obtain a negative Covid-19 test within one day of travel.

Elsewhere, investors will carefully study the official monthly jobs report, due at 8:30 AM ET (1330 GMT), especially after the hawkish stance Fed chair Jerome Powell took over the potential for the central bank's tightening of monetary policy at his Congressional testimony earlier in the week.

Nonfarm payrolls are expected to have increased by 550,000 in November, an improvement from the 531,000 jobs created in October, while the unemployment rate is expected to drop to 4.5% from 4.6% the previous month. 

That said, both the ADP private payrolls on Wednesday and Thursday’s initial jobless claims were stronger than expected, suggesting a positive surprise is a distinct possibility.

Turning to the corporate sector, Didi Global (NYSE: DIDI ) will be in the spotlight after the Chinese ride-sharing giant announced it will delist from the New York stock exchange and pursue a listing in Hong Kong, just a few months after its $4.4 billion U.S. IPO in July.

Southeast Asian super-app Grab will also be in focus after it plunged 21% on its debut on Thursday after merging with a special purpose acquisition company.

Crude prices rose Friday after OPEC+ left the possibility open of a quick change in policy if fuel demand is badly hit by the travel restrictions and lockdowns put in place to combat the Omicron Covid variant. 

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, a group known as OPEC+, stuck to the original plan to add 400,000 barrels per day of supply in January, but the top producers also said they could meet again before their next scheduled meeting on Jan. 4, if needed.

The Baker Hughes ' rig count and CFTC positioning data round out the week for the crude market.

By 7 AM ET, U.S. crude futures traded 2.7% higher at $68.31 a barrel, while the Brent contract rose 2.8% to $71.59. Both contracts are on course for a losing week, for the sixth straight week.

Additionally, gold futures rose 0.6% to $1,772.50/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.1% higher at 1.1309.


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