Friday August 4th


US stock futures jump after jobs report beats expectations

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Friday on better-than-expected employment data. Dow futures rose 55 points while S&P and Nasdaq futures climbed 3 points and 10 points, respectively. The U.S. economy added 209,000 jobs last month, according to the Labor Department, well above the expected gain of 183,000. If this were a company reporting earnings, this would be a beat and raise in guidance," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities. "We're also winding down on the earnings season so this came at the perfect time." The closely watched wage number was unchanged from previous months, with average hourly earnings up 2.5 percent. The average work week also was unchanged at 34.5 hours. Bars and restaurants provided the biggest boost for the month with 53,000 more positives, while professional and business services contributed 49,000, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said. Investors were watching out for this report, looking for clues on the chances of further interest rate hikes by the U.S. Federal Reserve. Meanwhile, oil prices were lower after new data showed rising U.S. production and stronger output from OPEC countries. Brent was trading at $51.51 and WTI at $48.56. Asian markets wavered on Friday, after U.S. stocks were dented overnight by a report that the special counsel investigation into Trump and his campaign was intensifying. Japan's Nikkei 225 ended down 0.38 percent, or 76.93 points, at 19,952.33, while the Topix index shed 0.15 percent, or 2.37 points, to 1631.45. Across the Korean Strait, the Kospi ended up 0.36 percent, or 8.60 points, at 2395.45 after wavering between positive and negative during the session. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index nudged up 0.04 percent by 3:27 p.m. HK/SIN. On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite lost 0.35 percent, or 11.61 points, to 3261.32, and the Shenzhen Composite shed 0.57 percent, or 10.72 points, to close at 1858.49. Gold slipped on Friday after hitting a seven-week high earlier this week, as the dollar rose from multi-month lows, after monthly U.S. non-farm payrolls data was better-than-expected. Spot gold was down 0.47 percent to $1,262.20 per ounce. It traded nearly flat at $1,268.61 per ounce before the report, and is on track to end the week almost unchanged. U.S. gold futures for December delivery fell 0.46 percent to $1,268.50 per ounce.