U.S. non-farm payrolls, due at 08.30 a.m. EDT, are expected to show
the United States added 233,000 jobs last month and the unemployment
rate held steady at 6.1 percent.
While encouraging for the global economy at large, strong job
numbers would fuel expectations the Fed will raise rates soon. The
U.S. central bank's ultra-loose monetary policy has helped drive a
two-year rally in equity markets.
"The market now believes the Fed will move sooner rather than later,
and the momentum is turning against the 'safe play of being long
equities'," said Steen Jacobsen, chief investment officer at Saxo
Bank, in Copenhagen.
Those views got some confirmation when Dallas Federal Reserve Bank
President Richard Fisher told a television interviewer it was "very
possible" the Fed would start raising rates early next year if the
economy kept improving. Speaking on CNBC on Friday, Fisher declined
to specify when he expects the Fed to move.
The MSCI All-Country World index was down 0.5 percent and the
pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index dropped 1.3 percent, hitting a 3
1/2-month low. Worries over Argentina's default and sanctions
against Russia also weighed on the market. U.S. stock index futures
were also sharply lower.
Stocks had started to retreat as expectations of monetary tightening
rose, following strong data on U.S. GDP and labour costs earlier
this week. Tensions in Ukraine and the Middle East also pulled
"Markets are fairly effectively pricing in future rate increases. As
long as that's the case, we are confident we won't see any
cataclysmic event on the fixed-income side of our risk parity
portfolio," said Stuart MacDonald, managing director of hedge fund
Also rattling investors, the threat of a conflict between Russia and
Ukraine was starting to affect the euro zone economy. A survey
showed on Friday the region's manufacturing growth easing in July.
"The slowdown from the confidence peak earlier this year is
noticeable," Christian Schulz, senior economist at Berenberg Bank in
London. "Especially in Germany, it reflects the Putin factor, which
has aggravated the problems of an already troubled Russian economy."
[to top of second column]
The dollar hovered around 10-month highs against a basket of
currency, on track to record a third strong week.
The cautious mood was also felt in the bond market, where yields on
the riskier Spanish and Italian bonds edged higher.
Portuguese bond yields also rose on Friday, amid expectations Lisbon
will bail out the country's biggest bank after it reported massive
Brent crude oil fell to a two-week low on Friday, slipping towards
$105 a barrel as oversupply in the Atlantic basin and low demand
outweighed worries over political tensions in the Middle East, North
Africa and Ukraine.
Also on the commodities front, Gold held near a six-week low and was
on track for a third straight weekly loss. The prospect of tighter
monetary policy curbed appetite for the yellow metal, which has
historically been considered an inflation hedge.
Nickel prices fell to their lowest in more than a month on Friday as
inventories rose. Other base metals were muted before the U.S. jobs
(Additional reporting by Francesco Canepa in London; Editing by
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