Big day for Fed speakers: Yellen, Fischer and more
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U.S. stock futures traded in tight ranges Friday, with gains limited by volatility in oil prices, as investors waited for the monthly U.S. jobs report to arrive.
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures eased 7 points to 20,864, while S&P 500 futures rose 1.5 points to 2,386.50. Nasdaq-100 futures added 3.25 points to 5,268.75.
On Thursday, the Dow industrials pared a 110-point loss to finish down just 6.34 points at 20,951.47. The S&P 500 index ended 1.39 points higher at 2,389.52, while the Nasdaq Composite Index closed up 2.79 points at 6,075.34.
With one trading session left in the week, the Nasdaq is poised to gain nearly 0.5%, while the S&P 500 is up 0.2% and the DJIA is barely higher.
Losses for the energy sector weighed on stocks Thursday, as U.S. crude and Brent oil prices both crashed 4.8% due to global supply worries. On Friday, WTI crude was pulling back from another sharp loss to trade up 2 cents to $45.54 a barrel, but analysts said prices were likely to remain volatile. Brent was up 24 cents to $48.63 a barrel.
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The next clue to the direction of oil prices could come from Baker Hughes (BHI) , which will report on the number of active U.S. rigs drilling for oil later on Friday. The count has risen for 15 weeks in a row, adding to concerns over the global oil glut.
Read:OPEC faces high-stakes decision as oil wavers around 5-month low (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/opec-faces-high-stakes-decision-as-oil-drops-to-5-month-low-2017-05-04)
Economy in focus: For investors, the key data release Friday is the all-important nonfarm payrolls report, due to arrive at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time.
"Today's driving market force will be the labor data with oil prices in focus. A stable oil market and a rebound in nonfarms will likely set the stage for a narrow to mixed trading session," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial, in emailed comments Friday.
Cardillo expects job gains of 165,000, but economists polled by MarketWatch were slightly more optimistic, estimating 190,000 jobs were created in April, from a rise of just 98,000 in March. The unemployment rate is expected to hold steady at 4.5%. A reading on the rate of hourly pay will also be released for the month -- it rose 2.7% in the 12-month period ended in March.
Read:Hiring rebound? What to watch in April jobs report (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/hiring-rebound-what-to-watch-in-april-jobs-report-2017-05-04)
"Today, Fed futures continue to indicate a 93.8% chance for the Fed to raise rates next month, but this number is bound to fall if today's [nonfarm payroll] figures miss expectations," said Konstantinos Anthis from the ADS Securities research team, in a note to clients Friday.
Six Federal Reserve officials are scheduled to speak on Friday, starting with Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer at the Hoover Institution monetary policy conference at Stanford University at 11:30 a.m. Eastern. Chicago Fed President Charles Evans, Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren and St. Louis Fed President James Bullard are expected to take part in a panel discussion at the conference at 1:30 p.m. Eastern.
Read:Which Fed members to watch in a clutch of appearances on Friday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/fed-returns-to-pulpit-with-six-speeches-friday-2017-05-04)
San Francisco Fed President John Williams is lined up to speak at a New York conference on the overhaul of housing finance at 12:45 p.m. Eastern. Finally, Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen is set to talk about "125 years of women's participation in the economy" at Brown University at 1:30 p.m. Eastern.
Stock movers: Cigna Corp.(CI) and Revlon Inc.(REV) will report earnings ahead of the market open.
Berkshire Hathaway Inc.(BRKA) (BRKA) is due to report after the close. Chief Executive Officer Warren Buffett will meet investors and answer questions at the conglomerate's annual shareholder meeting on Saturday.
Activision Blizzard Inc.(ATVI) shares were off about 2% in premarket trading after the videogame developer's earnings beat forecasts, but reported fewer users (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/activision-blizzard-beats-quarterly-expectations-but-reports-fewer-users-2017-05-04).
Shake Shack Inc.(SHAK) shares fell around 2% after the burger chain reported falling same-restaurant sales late Thursday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/shake-shack-shares-plunge-as-company-sales-growth-slackens-2017-05-04).
International Business Machines Corp.(IBM) shares were off 2.3% in premarket trading. Berkshire's Buffett told CNBC in an interview Thursday that his company has sold about one-third of its stake (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/warren-buffett-tells-cnbc-hes-dumped-a-third-of-stake-in-ibm-2017-05-04) in the computing giant, owing to a loss of confidence in the group.
Shares of Zynga Inc.(ZNGA) jumped around 13% in premarket trading after earnings from the social-gaming company beat forecasts (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/zynga-jumps-7-after-earnings-beat-2017-05-04).
Other markets: Chinese stocks finished 0.7% lower on Friday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/chinese-stocks-drop-on-falling-commodity-prices-2017-05-04), pressured by worries the nation's crackdown on speculators and borrowing could weigh on demand for metals. The most actively traded iron-ore futures contract opened down 6.8% on the Dalian Commodity Exchange, after tumbling by the 8% daily limit on Thursday.
European stocks fell from a 21-month high ahead (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-fall-from-21-month-high-ahead-of-us-jobs-french-election-2017-05-05)as investors waited for U.S. jobs data and the French presidential election, which will be decided on Sunday. Investors remain hopeful that centrist Emmanuel Macron (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/emmanuel-macron-5-things-to-know-about-the-man-poised-to-be-frances-president-2017-04-24) will beat far-right Marine Le Pen (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/5-things-you-dont-know-about-marine-le-penfrances-trump-2017-05-04) in that hotly contested race.
Read:Brace for market mayhem if Le Pen unexpectedly wins French presidency (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/brace-for-market-mayhem-if-le-pen-unexpectedly-wins-french-presidency-2017-05-04)
And:European equities a buy, but watch for this Trump risk: Eaton Vance (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-equities-a-buy-but-trump-policy-inaction-a-risk-eaton-vance-2017-05-03)
Gold rose $4.80, or 0.4%, to $1,233.40 an ounce, while the ICE Dollar Index was flat at 98.84.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
May 05, 2017 06:54 ET (10:54 GMT)