Stock Futures Extend Gains After Jobs Report

By Georgi Kantchev Features Dow Jones Newswires

U.S. stock futures extended gains after the Labor Department reported employers picked up their pace of hiring in June.

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Nonfarm payrolls rose by a seasonally adjusted 222,000 from the prior month, the Labor Department said Friday. The unemployment rate ticked up to 4.4% from 4.3% the prior month as more people joined the workforce. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected 174,000 new jobs and a 4.3% unemployment rate in June.

Gold prices extended losses and the U.S. dollar pared gains.

Futures pointed to a 0.2% opening gain for the S&P 500. In Europe, the Stoxx Europe 600 edged down 0.3%, dragged down by energy shares as oil prices dropped. That followed losses in bourses across Asia.

Hawkish signals from policy makers in Europe and the U.S. have roiled markets in recent days as investors gauge how fast central banks will be moving away from their ultra-accommodative monetary policies put in place after the financial crisis. Minutes from the European Central Bank's last meeting released Thursday showed officials are considering dropping a pledge to accelerate bond purchases.

"People are taking note of what signals central banks are sending," said Lefteris Farmakis, macro strategist at UBS. "If central banks rush the tightening, markets will suffer a lot."

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The jobs report is a key data point for the Federal Reserve. Recently, Fed officials have suggested there is a good chance they will announce a decision in the next few months to start shrinking the bank's large portfolio of bonds and other assets.

"The tightness of the U.S. labor market is a well-established fact, having hardly been in question recently," analysts at UniCredit Bank wrote in a note to clients.

The yield on 10-year Treasurys rose to 2.366% from 2.334% on Thursday, while German 10-year bund yields were higher at 0.563%. Yields move inversely to prices.

In Japan, the 10-year yield rose to a five-month high of 0.105% early Friday, prompting Bank of Japan to announce a fixed-rate bond-buying operation, which sent yields back down to around 0.084%.

In Asian stock markets, Japan's Nikkei Stock Average fell 0.3%, the lowest weekly finish since late May, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was down 0.5%.

In commodities, Brent oil prices were down 1.9% at $47.18 a barrel, extending overnight declines after data on Thursday showed that U.S. oil production last week rebounded strongly.

--Lucy Craymer contributed to this article.

Write to Georgi Kantchev at georgi.kantchev@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 07, 2017 08:52 ET (12:52 GMT)