US Futures Inch Higher; NFP Expected to be Weaker than October; Unemployment Rate Could Surprisingly Rise

by Warrior2

The major U.S. equity futures indexes are inching higher on Friday on weak volume with most major players sitting on the sidelines ahead of a key November jobs report that should offer investors a look at the pace of the labor market recovery in the face of a worsening pandemic.

At 07:27 GMT, December E-mini S&P 500 Index futures are trading 3672.50, up 8.00 or +0.22%. December E-mini Dow Jones Industrial Average futures are at 29988, up 55 or +0.18% and December E-mini NASDAQ-100 Index futures are trading 12506.50, up 44.25 or +0.36%.Advertisement

Pace of Job Gains Likely Slowed in November

Economists believe the rate of job gains in November are expected to be weaker than in October, reflecting the impact of virus-related shutdowns by states and local governments due to the record spread of COVID-19.

The U.S. economy is expected to have added 440,000 jobs, compared to 638,000 in October according to Dow Jones. The unemployment rate is estimated to have decreased to 6.7% from 6.9%.

The big surprise in this Non-Farm Payrolls report could be in the unemployment rate so traders should brace for two-sided price action. This occurs when the payrolls number is bullish and the unemployment rate is bearish, or vice-versa.Advertisement

NASDAQ Hits Record High, S&P 500 Ends Lower

The NASDAQ Composite Index closed at a record high on Thursday, lifted by Tesla Inc, while the S&P 500 fell after a report that Pfizer Inc had slashed the target for the rollout of its COVID-19 vaccine.

In the cash market on Thursday, the benchmark S&P 500 Index settled at 3666.72, down 2.29 or -0.07%. The blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average finished at 29969.52, up 85.73, up 0.31% and the technology-based NASDAQ Composite closed at 12377.18, up 27.81 or +0.25%.

Stocks in the News

Tesla surged 5% after Goldman Sachs upgraded the stock to “buy” in the run-up to the electric car maker’s addition to the S&P 500 Index.

Boeing Co jumped after budget airline Ryanair orders 73 additional 737 MAX jets with a list price of $9 billion, throwing a commercial lifeline to the embattled U.S. planemaker.

Tesla was Wall Street’s most traded stock by value, with about $25 billion worth of shares exchanged, according to Refinitiv data, more than double Boeing, in second place.

The benchmark S&P 500 Index fell from all-time highs late in the session after the Wall Street Journal reported that Pfizer faced supply chain obstacles related to the vaccine, sending its stock down 1.7%.

Broad vaccine optimism helped lift the S&P 1500 airlines index 4%. Cruise operators Carnival Corp and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd both surged more than 8%.

Cloud-security provider Zscaler Inc rallied over 26% after it reported better-than-expected first-quarter revenue and adjusted profit.

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