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Stock futures inch higher to start the week

A trader works on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), January 5, 2023.

Andrew Kelly | Reuters

Stock futures edged higher in overnight trade on Sunday after the major averages staged their first major rally of the new trading year.

Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 37 points, or 0.1[ads1]1%, while S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures gained 0.16% and 0.25%, respectively.

The overnight moves followed Friday’s first major market rally of 2023. The Dow rose 700 points, or 2.13%, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite gained 2.28% and 2.56%, respectively, after the December jobs report signaled that inflation may decrease.

Outside the agricultural industry, it was slightly higher than expected, but wages increased at a slower pace than expected. That, and data showing a contraction in the service sector, raised hopes that the central bank’s interest rate increases will reach their target.

Friday’s payrolls report and news of layoffs across industries suggest the labor market is softening, but the economy may have more work to do, according to Rick Rieder, BlackRock’s chief investment officer for global fixed income.

“We believe that the moderation in hiring conditions will continue, as parts of today’s report show, but we believe there is still a firmness to the demand for labor in services, which will persist for some time,” he said in a note Friday.

All the major averages ended Friday’s session with weekly gains, with the Dow and S&P posting their best weeks since November. The Dow and S&P ended their best day since November 30, while the Nasdaq on Friday ended its best session since December 29.

Monday starts a big week for economic data. December’s consumer price index report is due on Thursday, followed by big bank earnings on Friday. Nearer term, the New York Fed Survey of Consumer Expectations along with consumer credit data are due to be released on Monday. Wall Street will also hear comments from Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic.

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