US Equity Futures Steady Ahead of Key Jobs Data: Markets Wrap

(Bloomberg) — U.S. stock futures were little changed after underlying indexes pared gains in thin trading ahead of a three-day weekend that will see a key jobs report. The yen fluctuated after falling on Thursday against the dollar for the first time this week.

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European markets are mostly closed for the Good Friday holiday, and stock markets will also be closed in the United States, although the government will release a payrolls report that traders will scrutinize for clues about the Federal Reserve’s next policy move. Stock futures will close at 9:15 a.m. in New York, 45 minutes after the jobs data hits.

U.S. Treasuries traded as usual in Tokyo, were closed in London time and reopened at 06:00 in New York for a shortened session, with a recommended close at 1[ads1]2.00. The yield on the two-year note was little changed at 3.82%, down from 4.02% a week ago after a string of weak economic data fueled bets that the Fed would ease.

The payrolls report is expected to show that hiring slowed to a still-strong 230,000 jobs in March, and the unemployment rate remained near a historic low. As investors have aggressively priced in rate cuts this year, a “too hot” payrolls number would undermine those expectations, while a “too cold” report would raise concerns about a hard landing, according to Tom Essaye, a former Merrill Lynch trader who founded The Sevens newsletter Report.

The Cash S&P 500 ended its first losing week in four as data on Thursday showed jobless claims topped estimates last week, a day after a private payrolls report indicated hiring slowed more than expected.

Read: Bond action goes crazy on wages on Good Friday, shares less

U.S. stocks bounced back from early losses on Thursday after St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said he did not believe tighter credit conditions stemming from the recent banking crisis would tip the economy into recession. Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund warned that its outlook for global economic growth over the next five years is the weakest in more than three decades, urging nations to avoid economic fragmentation caused by geopolitical tensions and take steps to boost productivity.

While much of Asia including Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore were closed for public holidays, financial markets in Japan and mainland China were open. Japan’s benchmark Topix edged higher, ending a two-day slide, and stocks in China and South Korea rose further.

Money markets

The pile of money parked in money market funds hit a new record high in the past week, although inflows slowed from the recent frenzied pace. About $49.1 billion flowed into U.S. money market funds in the week to April 5, bringing total assets to an unprecedented $5.25 trillion, according to data from the Investment Company Institute.

Money market funds have recently raised money. Initially, much of this flow was driven by more attractive rates, but concerns about the stability of some smaller lenders helped to turbocharge in the past month.

Some of the main features of the markets:


  • S&P 500 futures were down 0.1% as of 7:05 a.m. in New York

  • Nasdaq 100 futures were little changed.

  • The Topix rose 0.3%, while the Nikkei 225 gained 0.2%

  • The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.3% and the CSI 300 rose 0.6%




This story was produced with assistance from Bloomberg Automation.

–With assistance from Naoto Hosoda and Stephen Kirkland.

(An earlier version corrected to say stocks retreated on Thursday in the sixth paragraph.)

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