Market Snapshot: U.S. stock futures inch lower as traders don’t dare to move before jobs data
U.S. stock futures edged lower Friday, mostly showing muted action as traders waited for the July jobs report, this week’s most-anticipated economic release.
But Cheniere Energy jumped premarket on news that Carl Icahn is buying an 8% stake, and Groupon and Nvidia made big moves on their earnings reports.
Futures for the S&P 500 ESU5, -0.18% were last down 4.50 points, or 0.2%, to 2,075, while those for the Dow Jones Industrial Average YMU5, -0.17% dipped by 38 points, or 0.2%, to 17,337. Nasdaq-100 futures NQU5, -0.17% also were 0.2% lower at 4,516.25.
Economists polled by MarketWatch project that the U.S. economy added 220,000 jobs last month, as the unemployment rate stayed at 5.3%. Read: What to watch in the jobs report
The S&P 500 SPX, -0.78% is on track for a 1% pullback for the week as of Thursday’s close, while the Dow DJIA, -0.69% and Nasdaq Composite COMP, -1.62% are eyeing weekly declines of 1.5% and 1.4%, respectively. On Thursday, the three benchmarks finished with sizable losses, testing technical levels in a choppy session as media stocks suffered a big hit.
What strategists are saying: The July jobs report “is one of two before the September FOMC meeting and every piece of data from here on out plays a large role in the central bank’s decision,” said Doug Coté and Karyn Cavanaugh, strategists at Voya Investment Management, in a note Thursday. FOMC refers to the Federal Open Market Committee, the Federal Reserve policy-making body that could hike interest rates at its September meeting.
Due to the potential for rising rates, it “may be prudent to consider reallocating a portion of an investor’s fixed-income assets to a floating rate product such as senior loans,” the Voya strategists added.
Other strategists have emphasized that stocks could provide a bumpy ride as rates rise, but they still tend to do well. Going back to 1980, Guggenheim Partners has found that in the six months ahead of a rate hike, the S&P 500 rose 8.3% on average, while tacking on 3.7% in the six months after the first move.
Other markets: European stocks SXXP, -0.44% were mostly lower Friday, but on pace for a weekly gain. Chinese stocks SHCOMP, +2.26% closed higher, while falling bank shares led to steep losses in Australian equities XJO, -2.41% Oil prices CLU5, +0.09% nudged lower, erasing early gains and on track for a hefty weekly loss. Gold GCU5, +0.14% edged higher, and the dollar DXY, -0.07% inched lower.
Movers & Shakers: Shares in Groupon Inc. GRPN, -1.68% switched between gains and losses in premarket trading after initially rising about 6%. The daily-deals company reported that its adjusted quarterly matched forecasts.
Cheniere Energy Inc. LNG, -0.26% climbed nearly 6% premarket after funds controlled by billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn disclosed an 8.18% stake in the company late Thursday.
Nvidia Corp. NVDA, -0.63% leapt 9% for the biggest premarket gain among S&P 500 stocks after the maker of graphics chips late Thursday posted adjusted quarterly earnings that beat Wall Street’s estimates.
Hershey Co. HSY, -0.50% shares fell premarket after the chocolate maker posted a second-quarter loss, though adjusted quarterly earnings topped estimates. Also before the open, Cablevision Systems Corp. CVC, -3.88% delivered profit that topped expectations, while revenue matched estimates.
Read more: Groupon, Hershey and Sotheby’s earnings in focus