Wall Street Bulls Take the Horns Ahead of December Jobs Report

January 5, 2018

New York (Jan 5)  U.S. equity futures pushed further into record territory Friday, following another all-time peak for global stocks ahead of a U.S. jobs report for December that will go some way toward gauging the Federal Reserve's ambitions for three interest rate increases this year.

Futures point to another record-setting session on a snow-covered Wall Street, with contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average rising 82 points and those linked to the broader S&P 500 trading 8 points, or 0.3%, north of Thursday's all-time peak. The tech-focused Nasdaq is also looking at a 25-point opening bell gain.

The U.S. dollar index, which benchmarks the greenback against a basket of six global currencies, was pinned down near early September lows of 92.02 ahead of the December employment report from the Labor Department, which is expected to show that a net 190,000 new jobs were added to the world's biggest economy over the final month of the year.

The consensus could be conservative, however, in the wake of ADP's reading of private sector jobs growth Thursday, which showed a much-stronger-than-expected gain of 250,000 in December.

However, investors are more likely to be focused, once again, on the pace of wage increases in a workforce that is likely to see the lowest level of headline unemployment since the Korean War sometime later this year. Hourly earnings are expected to have grown at a 2.5% clip, according to Wall Street forecasts, a figure that matches the November total.

In Europe, the benchmark Stoxx 600 index gained 0.69% to move within a whisker of the highest levels in two months, powered by gains for Germany's DAX performance index, which added 1.1%, and France's CAC-40, which was marked 0.9% to the upside.

The single currency held onto gains against the dollar, changing hands at 1.2055 after of an initial estimate of December inflation around the region showed a surprise increase in core inflation to 1.1%, even as the headline rate slowed to 1.4% from 1.5% in November, well shy of the European Central Bank's "just below 2%" target.

Overnight in Asia, stocks again tested 10-year highs as investors continued to push markets higher amid signals of surging regional growth and taming political tensions between North and South Korea.

The MSCI Asia ex-Japan index added 0.42% heading into the close of trading while Japan's Nikkei 225 jumped a further 0.89% to close at a fresh 26-year high of 22, 714.53 points.

Global oil prices pulled back from May 2015 highs in Asia trading after a surge in U.S. refining capacity -- which leaped to a 12-year high last week -- was reported Thursday by the Energy Information Administration.

Brent crude contracts for March delivery, the global benchmark for prices, were marked 57 cents lower at $67.50 per barrel while WTI contracts for the same month were seen 56 cents lower at $61.43 per barrel.

Apple Inc. (AAPL - Get Report) shares rose slightly Friday after the iPhone maker said all Mac systems and iOS devices are potentially at risk from two security bugs disclosed this week affecting processors used in computers and phones.

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Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD - Get Report) said Thursday that it will close more than 100 stores in 2018. The stock fell 4.8% on Thursday after the news was released.

GoPro Inc. (GPRO - Get Report) gained 0.4% following a TechCrunch report that said the company was cutting 200 to 300 jobs in its aerial division, the segment of the company responsible for its Karma drone.


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