U.S. stock-index futures pointed to a lower open on Friday, suggesting major indexes would extend their recent downtrend following the latest data on the labor market, and as uncertainty continued to swirl around trade policy.
Where are the major benchmarks trading?
Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average YMU8, -0.33% fell 55 points, or 0.2%, to 25,971. S&P-500 futures ESU8, -0.26% lost 4 points to 2,875, a dip of 0.1%. Nasdaq-100 futures NQU8, -0.22% fell 15.5 points, or 0.2%, to 7,442.
On Thursday, stocks fell for a third straight session, pressured by ongoing weakness in technology stocks.
What’s driving markets?
In the latest economic data, 201,000 jobs were added in the month of August, slightly better than what had been expected by analysts. The unemployment rate held steady at 3.9%. Separately, the jobs reports for both June and July were revised lower.
Investors also continued to pay attention to the latest developments surrounding trade after it was reported that the prospect of resolving the U.S. trade battle with China was fading as the White House draws closer to a deal to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement.
The technology sector will continue to be in focus following several days of protracted weakness. The sector has dropped 2.6% thus far this week. Among the major decliners, Microsoft Corp. MSFT, -0.19% has shed 3.2% thus far this week, while Google-parent Alphabet Inc. GOOGL, +0.14% GOOG, +0.16% has dropped 3.9%. Facebook Inc. FB, +0.89% has been among the biggest decliners, off 7.5%.
What are market experts saying?
“The tech weakness and trade do concern me to a degree. You don’t have a good market if tech isn’t a leader, and there’s no doubt that tariffs and weakness in China could become a bigger concern if the issue starts to spill out over into the U.S. more,” said Wayne Kaufman, chief market analyst at Phoenix Financial Services.
Kaufman added that the jobs report was strong, but to a degree that “it increases the odds of the Federal Reserve being hawkish and continuing on their path of raising rates. That could make it a difficult day for equities, as rising bond yields will have a slightly negative effect on stock valuations in the short term.”
What stocks are in focus?
Oppenheimer analyst Noah Kaye started research coverage of Caterpillar Inc. CAT, -0.37% with a neutral rating, saying an upbeat outlook on management’s ability to mitigate earnings volatility is offset by valuation that is a bit rich.
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