By Caitlin Ostroff and Frances Yoon
U.S. stock futures held on to modest gains Friday as investors
weighed prospects for new fiscal stimulus against data showing a
slowdown in the labor market's recovery.
Futures tied to the S&P 500 were up 0.3%, indicating gains
in the broader gauge after the New York opening bell. Contracts
linked to the tech-heavy Nasdaq-100 were up 0.1%.
Investors are monitoring Covid-19 infections and deaths, as well
as new economic data, to assess the outlook for next year and the
strength of recovery.
Figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that
employers added 245,000 jobs last month, down from the 638,000 jobs
added in October and below economists' expectations. The
unemployment rate declined to 6.7% from 6.9% in October.
"The jobs report's important," said Tom Hainlin, national
investment strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management. "But it just
kind of confirms what we're seeing, which is there's only so much
recovery we're going to see until we can get the economy fully
Markets are being driven by news on the spread of the virus,
progress towards a vaccine and the potential for additional fiscal
stimulus, he said.
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."
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.
Investors are also 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
Brent crude futures, the global benchmark for oil markets,
climbed 0.9% to $49.16 a barrel after OPEC and a group of
Russia-led oil producers agreed to increase their collective output
by 500,000 barrels a day next month.
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.
In offhours trading, shares in DocuSign gained 5.4% after the
company provided guidance that topped analysts' expectations. Ulta
Beauty shares declined 2.9% after its chief executive said the
company is expecting fourth-quarter comparable-store sales to fall
between 12% and 14%.
In bond markets, the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note
ticked up to 0.946%, 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.
Karen Langley contributed to this article.
Write to Caitlin Ostroff at firstname.lastname@example.org and Frances
Yoon at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
December 04, 2020 09:27 ET (14:27 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.