U.S. Stock Futures Inch Higher Ahead of Jobs Report
By Caitlin Ostroff and Frances Yoon
U.S. stock futures edged higher Friday as investors weighed
prospects for new fiscal stimulus and awaited fresh data on the
pace of recovery in the labor market.
Futures tied to the S&P 500 rose 0.3%, indicating gains in
the broader gauge after the New York opening bell. Contracts linked
to the tech-heavy Nasdaq-100 gained 0.3%.
Brent crude futures, the global benchmark for oil markets,
climbed 1% to $49.20 a barrel -- their highest level since March --
after OPEC and a group of Russia-led oil producers agreed to
increase their collective output by 500,000 barrels a day next
The world's biggest producers are betting that the worst of a
pandemic-inspired shock to demand is behind them after curtailed
travel weighed heavily on oil prices this year.
Trading in stocks this week has been mixed following last
month's rally, when investors cheered progress in Covid-19
"The market is now pausing a little bit, but the underlying
story is still intact -- that there is basically a global
recovery," said Luca Paolini, chief strategist at Pictet Asset
Management. "It is difficult to see what can change this kind of
positive outlook for equities."
In offhours trading, shares in DocuSign Inc. gained 5.1% after
the company provided guidance that topped analysts' expectations.
Ulta Beauty Inc. shares declined 3.6% after its chief executive
said the company is expecting fourth-quarter comparable-store sales
to fall between 12% and 14%.
Investors are increasingly optimistic about momentum for a
roughly $900 billion compromise Covid-19 relief plan to be pushed
through Congress before the Christmas holiday, though differences
remain over parts of the proposal.
"If there is an agreement, the message is the Republicans and
the Democrats can work together," Mr. Paolini said. "Once the
communication lines are established, it's easier to do more if you
Investors are also monitoring Covid-19 infections and deaths, as
well as new economic data, to assess the outlook for next year and
the strength of recovery.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics will release figures on how many
jobs employers added last month, as well as the unemployment rate,
at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal
forecast employers added 440,000 jobs in November, a slowdown from
the 638,000 jobs added in October. They expect the unemployment
rate to decline to 6.7% from 6.9% in October.
Newly reported Covid-19 cases in the U.S. hit a record high
Thursday, as did deaths reported in a day, as the global death toll
from the coronavirus pandemic passed 1.5 million. Hospitalizations
also hit a record, with 100,667 people in the U.S. admitted as of
Thursday, according to the Covid Tracking Project.
"From a market perspective, it's all about that starting point.
Once you see a vaccine allowing stronger returns to activity, it's
about how much of a dip you have to recover from," said Hugh
Gimber, a strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management.
In bond markets, the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note
ticked up to 0.929%, from 0.919% on Thursday.
Overseas, the pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 rose 0.3%. The
Nikkei declined 0.2%. The Shanghai Composite was flat.
In Hong Kong, shares of China National Offshore Oil and
Semiconductor Manufacturing International dropped over 2% after the
U.S. Defense Department added the state oil giant and chip maker to
a list of nearly three dozen companies the U.S. says helps the
country's military. Overall, the Hang Seng Index rose 0.4%.
The blacklist, which the U.S. launched last month, has hit
stocks and bonds of the targeted Chinese companies. Index compilers
FTSE Russell, JPMorgan and MSCI are rethinking their stance on
these securities targeted by the U.S. government and have been
collecting investor feedback.
Write to Caitlin Ostroff at firstname.lastname@example.org and Frances
Yoon at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
December 04, 2020 08:17 ET (13:17 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.