U.S. Stocks Futures Edge Higher After Jobs Data

By Jon Sindreu and Kenan Machado Features Dow Jones Newswires

U.S. stock futures edged higher following a slightly stronger-than-expected April jobs report.

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The data released by the Labor Department bolstered the case that the broader economy is strengthening after some weak signals earlier this year.

Futures pointed to a 0.2% opening gain for the S&P 500 after data showed nonfarm payrolls rose by a seasonally adjusted 211,000 in April from the prior month. Ahead of the report S&P 500 futures were pointing toward a 0.1% rise. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected 188,000 new jobs in April.

The pickup in the pace of hiring comes a month after the March jobs report disappointed investors and after the U.S. economy stumbled during the first three months of the year, the Commerce Department said. Still, many investors and the Federal Reserve brushed off concerns about the U.S. economy's soft first-quarter patch. This week, the Fed suggested it is committed to tightening monetary policy.

After the release, traders in the futures markets put a 79% probability on a move by the June Fed meeting, the same as ahead of the report.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.340% after the release of the report from 2.363% ahead of the release.

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The price of crude stabilized during the trading day after sharp overnight falls. U.S.-traded crude oil was recently down less than 0.1% to $45.51.

U.S. crude prices are still down more than 7% from a week ago, hitting their lowest since November, when the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed to cut output for six months. This caps a bad week for commodities and damped investors' hunger to take on risk.

"There are a lot of concerns out there on [oil] oversupply," said Andrew Sullivan, managing director of sales trading at Haitong International Securities, noting the risk that lower oil and energy consumption could indicate slack demand, threatening the global economic recovery.

In Europe, the Stoxx Europe 600 rose 0.2%.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng and the Shanghai Composite Index both closed down 0.8%. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.7%. Markets in Japan and South Korea were closed for holidays.

Nevertheless, major stock indexes in the U.S. and Europe have climbed over the past few weeks, on positive corporate earnings.

Still, metals have been battered throughout the week, on fears that China's crackdown on speculation and borrowing could hurt metals demand. Iron ore traded on the Dalian Commodity Exchange closed down 8%, the daily trading limit. Nickel fell to its lowest level in nearly a year in London, while copper tumbled in the U.S.

"Financial market regulatory scrutiny certainly appears to be driving liquidation across a range of asset classes onshore," said Bill Bowler, a Chinese equities trader at Forsyth Barr in Asia.

Kenan Machado contributed to this article.

Write to Jon Sindreu at jon.sindreu@wsj.com and Kenan Machado at kenan.machado@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 05, 2017 09:11 ET (13:11 GMT)