US stock index futures were little changed during early morning trading on the Friday before the much-anticipated job report.
Futures contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 35 points. S&P 500 futures were almost unchanged and Nasdaq 100 futures were slightly lower.
Stocks ended Thursday's session in the green, the S&P 500 rising 0.6% to close on a new high. The Dow gained 271.58 points, or 0.78%. The Nasdaq Composite also rose 0.78% for its fourth consecutive positive session.
All eyes are on Friday's job report, which will show how the tagged workforce performed in July. Economists estimate that the economy created 845,000 jobs in the past month, according to Dow Jones estimates. However, the wide range of targets – from 350,000 at the low end to 1.2 million at the top – shows the uncertainty currently prevailing in the market.
Brad McMillan, chief investment officer at Commonwealth Financial Network, found monthly values for that year ranged from 233,000 in January to 850,000 in June. He said a pressure below 300,000 could be cause for concern, while a reading between 300,000 and 400,000 would indicate a "reasonably healthy" economy.
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"A better result would be the second quarter average, around 500,000 to 600,000. This would show that the recovery is continuing and that while medical and labor issues are preventing further acceleration, the economy still has enough momentum to sustain. " move forward at a reasonable pace, "he said.
Friday's report comes after the weekly number of initial filings reported Thursday hit 385,000, which was in line with expectations. However, Wednesday's ADP private payroll report showed fewer jobs were created in July than expected.
Wall Street is closely monitoring Friday's labor market report as it has the potential to influence future Federal Reserve policies.
"While uncertainty about monetary policy is likely to cause further spurts of volatility, we believe the Fed's move toward tapering is unlikely to reverse the equity rally," noted UBS strategists.
"The weak labor market, well-anchored inflation expectations and risks from the Delta COVID-19 variant make rate hikes before 2023 unlikely," added the company.
The job report could also cause movement in the bond market. On Friday morning, the US 10-year Treasury yield resumed its most recent volatile trade, rising above 1.25%. The benchmark yield was trading at 1.13% earlier this week. The returns move inversely to the prices.
A busy week of profits continued on Friday with several notable reports including from Canopy Growth, AMC Networks, Draftkings, Norwegian Cruise Line and Goodyear Tire. Also, Berkshire Hathaway is on deck for Saturday mornings.
As of Thursday afternoon, 427 S&P 500 components had released quarterly results, with 88% beating earnings estimates, according to data from Refinitiv. In terms of sales, 87% exceeded expectations.
For the week, the Dow is up 0.4%. The S&P and the Nasdaq are up 0.77% and 1.5%, respectively.
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