Futures flat with focus on July jobs report

(Reuters) – Trading in U.S. stock index futures was subdued on Friday, as investors waited for the jobs report for July amid concerns that rising cases of the Delta coronavirus variant could hurt the economic recovery.

The Labor Department’s report could show nonfarm payrolls surging by at least 1 million last month because of the so-called seasonal adjustment factors, which are also seen inflating employment at auto assembly plants and in the leisure and hospitality sector.

“A worse-than-expected figure might trigger a positive market reaction as it would suggest the economy is not overheating,” Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell wrote in a client note.

“Conversely a better-than-expected figure might trouble investors if it suggests the economy is racing ahead, which would stoke fears of interest rate hikes happening sooner than currently guided by the U.S. Federal Reserve.”

The much-awaited jobs numbers come on the heels of data that showed a further decline in U.S. unemployment claims last week and a spate of strong corporate earnings reports, which helped lift the Nasdaq and S&P 500 indexes to record closes on Thursday.

All three of Wall Street’s main indexes are set to end the week with nominal gains as a stronger-than-expected earnings season overshadowed concerns about the pace of economic growth and higher inflation.

At 6:38 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 24 points, or 0.07%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 1.25 points, or 0.03%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 20.25 points, or 0.13%.

Zynga Inc tumbled 14.5% in premarket trading on a disappointing full-year bookings forecast and announcement of a potential acquisition worth over half a billion dollars.

U.S.-listed shares of ride-hailing service Didi Global Inc added 6.4% as Bloomberg News reported it is considering giving up control of its valuable data as part of efforts to resolve a Chinese regulatory probe.

(Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)


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