Market Snapshot: U.S. stock futures rise as key jobs report looms

United States

U.S. stock futures rose on Thursday, as investors began positioning for a key jobs report that will help shape views on how long the Federal Reserve’s bond-buying program will continue.

What’s happening

  • Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average YM00, +0.21% rose 79 points;
  • Futures on the S&P 500 ES00, +0.27% rose 0.3%;
  • Futures on the Nasdaq 100 NQ00, +0.27% rose 0.2%.

On Wednesday, U.S. stocks ended mostly lower, with the Dow industrials DJIA, -0.92% retreating 324 points and the S&P 500 SPX, -0.46% slumping by 0.5%. The tech heavy Nasdaq Composite COMP, +0.13% managed a 0.1% rise. The day included mixed readings on the U.S. economy, and Federal Reserve Vice Chair Richard Clarida’s surprise comment that he thinks the jobs market may be healthy enough for interest rate rises by the end of 2022.

What’s driving markets

Investors began positioning ahead of the nonfarm payrolls report due Friday. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal expect 845,000 nonfarm jobs were created in July.

Steve Englander, head of global G10 currency research and North America macro strategy at Standard Chartered, said a payrolls report close to the current consensus could generate a market reaction even without a surprise, as it could firm up interest-rate expectations.

The latest reading on initial jobless claims is due at 8:30 a.m. Eastern.

Strategists at Goldman Sachs boosted their year-end S&P 500 price target to 4,700 from 4,300. “Relative to consensus, we expect stronger revenue growth and more pre-tax profit margin expansion as firms successfully manage costs and as high-margin tech companies become a larger share of the index,” they said.

Earnings season continues, with Uber Technologies UBER, -2.29% expected to retreat after reporting worse margins than forecast. Cloud software company Fastly FSLY, -3.66% lost a fifth of its value in after-hours trade as the company reported the financial impact of an outage. Etsy ETSY, +6.11% may also see pressure after the online arts marketplace had fewer active buyers than expected.

Robinhood Markets HOOD, +50.41% will be in the spotlight following the online brokerage’s 50% surge on Wednesday.