MARKET SNAPSHOT: U.S. Stock Futures In Holding Pattern Ahead Of Key Jobs Report

By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Dow average on track to extend run of records

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U.S. stock futures inched higher on Friday, with traders erring on the side of caution ahead of the top-tier July jobs report that could help steer expectations for the next Federal Reserve policy move.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 24 points, or 0.1%, to 21,998, signaling another gain for the blue-chip gauge at the open. The Dow logged an all-time closing high of 22,026.10 on Thursday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dow-faces-struggle-to-hold-above-22000-but-tesla-tears-higher-2017-08-03), meaning the index has notched 33 record closes in 2017.

See: Howard Gold's 3 reasons a stock-market correction is coming (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/3-reasons-a-stock-market-correction-is-coming-in-late-summer-or-early-fall-2017-08-03)

Futures for the S&P 500 index gained 1.05 point to 2,472.75, while those for the Nasdaq-100 index rose 5.50 points, or 0.1%, to 5,895.50.

Both the S&P and Nasdaq Composite Index closed slightly lower on Thursday.

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Jobs, jobs, jobs: The main focus on Friday was the closely watched nonfarm-payrolls report for July, scheduled for release at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time.

Economists expect 180,000 jobs to have been added to the U.S. economy last month, while the unemployment rate is seen as falling to 4.3% from 4.4%.

Read:July jobs report likely to show plenty of new jobs but no big wage gains for workers (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/july-jobs-report-likely-to-show-plenty-of-new-jobs-but-no-big-wage-gains-for-workers-2017-08-03)

The report is seen as crucial for the Federal Reserve to decide whether to hike interest rates one more time this year or to keep them on hold. After a string of lackluster economic readings recently, investors are starting to doubt further monetary tightening is on the cards in the short term. Those doubts have helped send the dollar sharply lower.

"Today's NFP report might be a key turning point for the Fed and the dollar, as nothing other than an impressive reading across all of the report's components is needed to rekindle hopes for further tightening in 2017," said Konstantinos Anthis, researcher at ADS Securities.

The greenback eased against most major currencies ahead of the jobs report. The ICE Dollar Index slipped 0.1% to 92.741, trading around a 15-month low.

Average hourly earnings and the trade deficit for June are also on the data docket, at 8:30 a.m. Eastern.

There are no Federal Reserve members scheduled to speak publicly on Friday.

Stock movers: Shares of GoPro Inc.(GPRO) jumped 13% ahead of the bell after the wearable video-camera maker's quarterly results and outlook out late Thursday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/gopro-shares-jump-more-than-10-after-results-outlook-beat-street-estimates-2017-08-03) beat Wall Street estimates.

Weight Watchers International Inc.(WTW) also beat forecasts (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/weight-watchers-stock-rockets-toward-5-year-high-after-profit-and-sales-beat-raised-outlook-2017-08-03) with its late Thursday earnings, sending shares 14% higher in Friday's premarket action.

In earnings on Friday, Cigna Corp.(CI) and Trivago NV(TRVG) are on the earnings docket ahead of the open, while Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc.(BRKA) (BRKA) will report after the market close.

U.S.-listed shares of Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC(RBS.LN) gained 3.3% premarket after the U.K. bank posted its first half-year profit in three years (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/rbs-swings-to-profit-as-one-off-effect-fades-2017-08-04).

Other markets: Asian stock markets closed mixed (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/asian-markets-mixed-as-investors-await-us-job-report-2017-08-03) . European investors were also staying on the sidelines (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-hold-steady-with-us-jobs-update-in-focus-2017-08-04), with all major indexes making moves of less than 0.1%.

Oil prices slumped ahead of the weekly Baker Hughes (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/crude-oil-loses-grip-of-49-a-barrel-ahead-of-us-rig-data-2017-08-04) rig-count report. Metals, including gold , were higher across the board.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 04, 2017 05:20 ET (09:20 GMT)