U.S. Stocks May Open Mixed Following Monthly Jobs Report

Following the release of the closely watched monthly jobs report, U.S. stock futures are pointing to a mixed open on Friday. While the Dow futures are up by 77 points, the Nasdaq 100 futures are down by 48 points.

The mixed performance by the futures comes after the Labor Department released a report showing stronger than expected job growth in the month of July.

The Labor Department said non-farm payroll employment spiked by 943,000 jobs in July after surging by an upwardly revised 938,000 jobs in June.

Economists had expected employment to jump by 870,000 jobs compared to the addition of 850,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

The stronger than expected job growth was partly due to sharp increases in employment in leisure and hospitality and local government education, which shot up by 380,000 jobs and 221,000 jobs, respectively.

Reflecting the strong job growth, the unemployment rate slid to 5.4 percent in July from 5.9 percent in June, falling to its lowest level since March of 2020. Economists had expected the unemployment rate to dip to 5.7 percent.

The data may help alleviate recent concerns about a slowdown in the pace of the economic recovery but could also lead to worries about the outlook for monetary policy.

Last week, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell indicated further progress was needed in labor market recovery before the central would consider scaling back stimulus.

“We had thought that continued slow progress on the employment recovery would see the Fed hold off tapering its asset purchases until early next year,” said Andrew Hunter, Senior U.S. Economist at Capital Economics.

He continued, “But with Board members Richard Clarida and Christopher Waller both recently suggesting a run of stronger jobs growth would be enough to meet the threshold of ‘substantial further progress,’ the risks may now be titled towards that process beginning sooner than we had expected.”

After ending the Wednesday’s trading mostly lower, stocks moved back to the upside during trading on Thursday. With the upward move on the day, the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 reached new record closing highs.

The major averages saw further upside going into the close, ending the session at their best levels of the day. The Dow climbed 271.58 points or 0.8 percent to 35,064.25, the Nasdaq advanced 114.58 points or 0.8 percent to 14,895.12 and the S&P 500 rose 26.44 points or 0.6 percent to 4,429.10.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in another mixed performance during trading on Friday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index rose by 0.3 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index dipped by 0.2 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have all moved to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index has climbed by 0.5 percent, the German DAX Index is up by 0.2 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.1 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are climbing $0.88 to $69.97 a barrel after advancing $0.94 to $69.09 a barrel on Thursday. Meanwhile, after slipping $5.60 to $1,808.90 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are falling $16.60 to $1,792.30 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 110.07 yen versus the 109.77 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Thursday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.1784 compared to yesterday’s $1.1834.

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