Futures rise ahead of crucial jobs report

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[August 05, 2016]  By Yashaswini Swamynathan

(Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were higher on Friday as investors awaited monthly payroll numbers to gauge the health of the economy and the likely timing of the next interest rate hike.

The report from the U.S. Labor Department is expected to show that 180,000 jobs were added in July, compared with average monthly addition of 171,500 jobs over the first half of the year.

The data is due at 8:30 a.m. ET (1230 GMT) and will include the rate of unemployment and wages.

Unemployment is expected to have fallen 0.1 percent to 4.8 percent and average wages likely rose by 0.2 percent, according to Thomson Reuters data.

The Federal Reserve's move to raise interest rates is contingent on a number of economic indicators, including a strong labor market and inflation meeting the central bank's 2 percent target.

However, the markets have priced in little chance of the Fed raising rates this year as global growth worries persist.

Traders see 9 percent odds of a rate hike in September and a 29.4 percent chance in December, according to CME Group's FedWatch tool. That number does not rise significantly even until July next year.

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Wall Street closed flat on Thursday as investors were wary of making big bets ahead of jobs data.

Cognizant's shares rose nearly 4 percent premarket after the IT services provider posted a better-than-expected quarterly profit.

Kraft Heinz rose 4.4 percent in thin trading after the company posted quarterly earnings that beat estimates.

FireEye dropped 18 percent after the company cut its forecast and said it would layoff about 10 percent of its workforce.

(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)

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