Friday August 3rd

2-08-2018

US stock futures pare gains after jobs report disappoints

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a flat open on Friday after the release of disappointing jobs data. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were down 20 points indicating a loss of about 10 points at the open. Nasdaq 100 and S&P 500 futures also pointed to a flat start to the session for both of their respective markets. Stock futures were higher prior to the data's release. The U.S. economy added 157,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department said Friday. Economists polled by Reuters expected a gain of 190,000. The unemployment rate fell one-tenth of a percentage point to 3.9 percent, while wages grew by 2.7 percent on a year-over-year basis. Investors take a close look at the jobs report every month as they look for clues regarding the pace of the Federal Reserve's future interest rate hikes. Non-manufacturing data is expected to follow at around 10 a.m. ET. Investors were also on edge after China said it will slap tariffs on $60 billion in U.S. goods. The action would be in response to increasingly protectionist policies taken by the U.S. on trade. U.S. stocks finished higher on Thursday, shortly after Apple became the first U.S. publicly traded company in history to reach $1 trillion in market value. Apple's stock jumped almost 9 percent since the firm reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings earlier in the week. Asian stocks closed mixed on Friday, with trade jitters weighing on Chinese shares while the dollar traded near its highest levels in around two weeks. Japan's Nikkei 225 edged up by 0.06 percent, or 12.65 points, to close at 22,525.18. The broader Topix pulled back by 0.54 percent, with 27 of its 33 sectors finishing lower. In South Korea, the Kospi added 0.77 percent to end at 2,287.68 as the manufacturing sector, retailers and technology notched gains. Elsewhere, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index eased 0.22 percent by 3:05 p.m. Chinese shares also stumbled, with the Shanghai Composite losing 0.97 percent to finish at 2,741.08 and the smaller Shenzhen Composite dropping 1.72 percent. Oil prices fell on Friday after China announced it would impose tariffs on $60 billion in U.S. goods, the latest development in an escalating trade dispute that has raised concerns about a slowdown in economic growth that could ding demand for crude. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 23 cents at $68.73 per barrel at 8:20 a.m. ET (1220 GMT). Brent crude futures fell 2 cents to $73.43 per barrel. Gold prices fell to their lowest in over a year on Friday and were headed for a fourth straight weekly loss. Spot gold dropped to $1,204.91 earlier in the session, its lowest since July 2017, before rebounding to trade 0.4 percent higher at $1,212.14. For the week, the precious metal was down about 1 percent. U.S. gold futures were flat at $1,220.40 an ounce on Friday.