Stocks higher before key jobs data
David Russell | firstname.lastname@example.org
Futures on the S&P 500 are up by more than 0.2 percent, following a gain of almost 0.75 percent yesterday. Overseas markets are strong across the board, especially in Europe after the continent's central bank expressed further willingness to prop up debt prices. France's CAC-40 rose 1 percent while the German DAX climbed by 0.75 percent.
Economists forecast that U.S. payrolls grew by 165,000 last month. Most of the labor data has been strong this week, with initial jobless claims below expectations and more hiring than anticipated in the ADP private-sector employment report. (See related story)
The news comes against a backdrop of a strong rally in equity markets as fear of a crisis in Europe unwinds and money is reallocated from the bond market. The S&P 500 has spent the last month consolidating above its highs from 2008, marking a potential recovery from the subprime-mortgage crash that has haunted investors for the last four years. A strong jobs report today could bolster perceptions that the crisis is finally over.
Currencies and commodities are painting a more cautious picture than stocks. Oil is falling about 1 percent and continues to struggle after hitting resistance at its 200-day moving average last month. Most agricultural foodstuffs are also down by more than half a percent.
Metals are showing more strength, with copper little changed. Silver and gold are posting small losses but remain near the tops of their recent ranges.
The euro is also down slightly against the U.S. dollar, while the Australian dollar is edging higher. The Japanese yen is up modestly against all counterparts.
In company-specific news, earnings have remained less than stellar--especially in the technology sector. Social-gaming company Zynga, enterprise-software maker Datalink and defense-systems contractor Mercury Computer Systems all fell more than 10 percent in extended trading after issuing weak guidance. The moves followed similar news recently from Hewlett-Packard, Informatica, and Xyratex, which makes disk-drive parts.