MARKET SNAPSHOT: Dow Aims For Fresh Record As Stock Futures Climb After U.S. Jobs Report

By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch , Ryan Vlastelica Features Dow Jones Newswires

Apple rallies after results; Dow set for 8th straight weekly gain

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U.S. stock-index futures pointed to a modestly higher open on Friday, setting the Dow up for its 56th all-time in 2017 as strong results at Apple supported the overall market.

The results helped investors look past a jobs report that came in slightly cooler than expected, though the jobs added in the past two months were raised and the unemployment rate dipped to its lowest level since December 2000.

What are stock-index futures doing?

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 30 points, or 0.1%, to 23,469, on track to build from gains on Thursday when the benchmark scored its 55th record close of 2017 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-stocks-on-track-to-pull-back-with-tax-bill-on-deck-2017-11-02).

Futures for the S&P 500 index added 1.30 points, or 0.1%, to 2,578.25, while those for the Nasdaq-100 index jumped 18.25 points, or 0.3%, to 6,254.

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The S&P 500 closed marginally higher and just shy of its all-time closing high on Thursday, while the Nasdaq Composite Index ended slightly lower.

As of Thursday's close, the Dow average and Nasdaq were set for weekly gains of 0.4% and 0.2%, respectively, while the S&P was eyeing a 0.1% loss for the week. The Dow is set for its eighth straight weekly gain, its longest such streak since November 2013. If the S&P ends in positive territory for the week, it will also have risen for eight straight weeks, its longest since November 2013. The Nasdaq is poised for its sixth positive week in a row, matching a streak that ended in early March.

What's driving the market?

The October payroll report showed 261,000 jobs added over the month (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-x000-jobs-in-october-unemployment-x-2017-11-03), well below the 325,000 that had been expected. However, the unemployment rate dipped to 4.1% from 4.2% and the September report was revised to show jobs added in the month, compared with the initial read of job losses. The October report could show lingering impact from hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which had impacted the September results.

The health of the U.S. labor market is one of the key measures for the Fed in determining the path for interest rates, ahead of an expected rate increase in December. The market is currently pricing in a more than 98% probability of a rate increase next month, according to the CME Group data.

Read:Get ready for a huge jump in October payrolls (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/get-ready-for-a-huge-jump-in-october-payrolls-2017-11-02)

Thursday saw President Donald Trump nominate Fed Gov. Jerome Powell (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/text-of-powells-statement-on-being-named-fed-chairman-nominee-2017-11-02) as the next head of the U.S. central bank. Separately, the Bank of England raised interest rates (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/5-key-carney-quotes-after-boe-hikes-rates-for-first-time-in-a-decade-2017-11-02) for the first time in a decade.

Read:Here's a breakdown of how the new House tax bill impacts your taxes (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/heres-a-breakdown-of-how-the-new-house-tax-bill-impacts-your-taxes-2017-11-02)

What are strategists saying?

"The report was obviously still distorted by the hurricanes, though the net gain in the month was pretty solid. There was a good amount of jobs growth, a notable decline again in the unemployment rate, all of which sends the clear message that the labor market is tight," said Charles Lieberman, chief investment officer of Advisors Capital Management. "Ultimately there wasn't a big enough surprise to change market direction, especially for the companies that reported."

The dollar rose on Friday against all other major currencies, with the ICE Dollar Index up 0.2% at 94.827.

Which stocks are in focus?

Shares of Apple Inc.(AAPL) climbed 3.3% ahead of the bell, closing in on a $900 billion valuation (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/apple-has-900-billion-valuation-in-sight-as-earnings-allay-iphone-fears-2017-11-02). The gain came after the iPhone maker late Thursday reported earnings that easily beat estimates (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/apple-has-900-billion-valuation-in-sight-as-earnings-allay-iphone-fears-2017-11-02). The stock is the biggest company in the market, and as such has an outsize weight on all three major indexes.

Shares of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc.(VRX.T) jumped 6.7% in premarket action after the drugmaker late Thursday said the Food and Drug Administration has approved the company's Vyzulta drug.

Pandora Media Inc.(P) shares slumped 12% premarket after the music-streaming company late Thursday said its loss widened in the third quarter (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/pandora-shares-fall-after-revenue-miss-2017-11-02).

Starbucks Corp.(SBUX) shares lost 3.9% before the open after the coffee chain's sales number out late Thursday missed Wall Street forecasts (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/starbucks-shares-down-5-after-revenue-miss-company-to-sell-tazo-brand-2017-11-02). The company also said it has agreed to sell its Tazo tea brand to Unilever (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/unilevers-tazo-deal-targets-upscale-tea-drinkers-2017-11-02).

Sotheby's(BID) is expected to report earnings before the market opens on Friday.

What's happening in economic data?

While the jobs report will be the most studied data point of the day, investors are also looking to the October Markit services purchasing managers index, as well as the Institute for Supply Management's nonmanufacturing index and September factory orders. All will be released after the market opens.

See:MarketWatch's economic calendar (http://www.marketwatch.com/economy-politics/calendars/economic)

At noon Eastern, Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari is scheduled to give a speech on monetary policy and the 2018 outlook at a Women in Housing and Finance luncheon in Washington, D.C.

What are other markets doing?

Oil prices continued higher, with crude oil up 0.6% at $54.96 a barrel and on track for a fourth straight week of gains.

Metals were mixed, and gold dropped 0.2% to $1,275.60 an ounce.

Asian markets closed mixed (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/australia-stocks-near-10-year-high-as-asia-pacific-markers-gain-2017-11-02), with Japan's exchanges closed for the Culture Day holiday. Stocks in Europe rose, setting the benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 index on track for at 0.5% weekly gain.

Bitcoin is up 5.1% at $7,388.52 for a fresh all-time high. The cryptocurrency broke above $7,300 Thursday.

See:Bitcoin may be staging the biggest challenge yet to gold and silver (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/bitcoin-may-be-staging-the-biggest-challenge-yet-to-gold-and-silver-2017-11-02)

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 03, 2017 09:06 ET (13:06 GMT)