Futures rise ahead of February jobs report
Anticipation of numbers that beat the estimates has investors in an upbeat mood early on Friday.
U.S. equity futures rose in early premarket trading ahead of the U.S. government's monthly employment situation report following strong stances from major global central banks this past week. Other positive employment indicators this week have led investors to believe that February's report could be stronger than previously thought.
In other news around the markets:
China's trade surplus rose faster than expected in February, rising $15.25 billion vs. a forecast drop of $6.9 billion. Exports grew faster and imports fell faster, contributing to this increase in the surplus.
The Bank of Italy issued a shocking report highlighting that Italian banks' bad loans rose by 17.5% in January.
Spanish industrial production continued to improve in January, falling 5% versus expectations of a 5.2% drop and slower than the previous reading of a 6.9% drop.
S&P 500 futures rose 4.7 points to 1,542.80.
The EUR/USD was higher at 1.3110.
Spanish 10-year government bond yields fell to 4.84%.
Italian 10-year government bond yields fell to 4.58%.
Asian shares were mostly higher except for China, despite its stronger-than-expected trade data as investors questioned the report because February's Lunar New Year holiday makes the month tough to estimate. The Japanese Nikkei Index rose 2.64%, while the Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.24% and the Hang Seng Index rose 1.41%. Also, the Korean Kospi rose 0.08% after North Korea declared the Korean War-era armistice void, and Australian shares fell 0.52% on weaker-than-expected Chinese iron ore import data.
European shares were mostly higher ahead of the much-anticipated U.S. employment report. The Spanish Ibex Index rose 1.25%, and the Italian FTSE MIB Index rose 0.89%. Meanwhile, the German DAX rose 0.57%, the French CAC rose 0.73% and U.K. shares rose 0.37%.
Commodities were mostly weaker overnight on Chinese growth fears following the iron ore import data. WTI Crude futures fell 0.11% to $91.47 per barrel, and Brent Crude futures fell 0.6% to $110.48 per barrel. Copper futures fell 0.51% to $350.15 per pound. Gold was higher, and silver futures fell 0.29% to $28.73 per ounce.
Currency markets were in flux overnight following the three large central bank decisions Thursday and ahead of the U.S. employment report. The EUR/USD was higher at 1.3110, and the dollar rose against the yen to 95.55. Overall, the Dollar Index rose 0.12% on strength against the yen, the Canadian dollar and the Swiss franc. The Japanese yen resumed its slide overnight, and the Australian dollar fell.
Stocks moving before the bell on Friday included:
- Boeing (BA) shares fell 0.3% after the National Transportation Safety Board released an interim report on the 787 Dreamliner battery investigation, detailing the events of the battery fires but not yet attributing them to one cause.
- Xerox (XRX) shares rose 2.1% after the company acquired Impika to gain access to the fast-growing commercial inkjet printing business.
- Citigroup (C) shares rose 1.44% after its stress test results showed it wanted to increase its share buybacks.
- Ford (F) shares fell 0.39% following the weakness in China overnight.
No notable companies are expected to report earnings Friday.
On the calendar Friday, the Employment Situation Report is due out at 8:30 am EST. Nonfarm payrolls are expected to rise 171,000 with private payrolls rising 195,000 and the unemployment rate falling to 7.8% from 7.9% previously. Also, wholesale trade data is due out later, and the Fed Reserve's Elizabeth Duke speaks tonight.
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