Government shutdown averted, as had been expected
U.S. stock-index futures pointed to a modestly higher open on Friday, after a jobs report that was much stronger than had been expected, underlining the economy's strong fundamentals.
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Technology stocks were poised to continue their recent push higher, and that could help major indexes close higher for the week.
What are futures doing?
Futures for the Nasdaq-100 index climbed 38 points, or 0.6%, to 6,379.50, setting the Nasdaq Composite Index on track for a third straight session of gains.
Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 57 points, or 0.2%, to 24,303, while those for the S&P 500 index added 7.5 points, or 0.3%, to 2,649.50.
As of Thursday's close, the Dow is down 0.1% for the week, while the S&P is off 0.2% and the Nasdaq is off 0.5%. If the optimism in futures holds, all three could end the week in the green. If the Dow and the S&P were to close up on the week, that would represent their third straight weekly advance.
The Dow and the S&P logged gained of 0.3% on Thursday, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq closed 0.5% higher (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/sp-gears-up-to-break-4-day-losing-streak-with-dc-in-focus-2017-12-07).
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What's driving the markets?
The U.S. created 228,000 jobs in November, above the 200,000 that had been expected, according to the nonfarm payroll report (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-adds-228000-jobs-in-november-unemployment-flat-at-41-2017-12-08). The unemployment rate held at 4.1% while wages rose 0.2%. The report was the latest indication that the economy is running at full tilt, which could lead to the Fed being more aggressive in changing its monetary policy.
Investors on Friday also welcomed news that both the Senate and House late Thursday approved a two-week funding bill (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/house-passes-bill-to-avoid-government-shutdown-2017-12-07), staving off a threatened government shutdown this weekend. The bill now moves to President Donald Trump to sign, which he is expected to do on Friday. The bill buys Trump and congressional leaders a little more time to hammer out a longer-term deal.
Read:Here's how the stock market has handled past government shutdowns (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/heres-how-the-stock-market-has-handled-past-government-shutdowns-2017-12-06)
In Europe, investors cheered a breakthrough in Brexit talks (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/breakthrough-on-brexit-terms-opens-way-to-next-phase-of-talks-2017-12-08) between the U.K. and European Union. After days of tense negotiations, Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, said early Friday that "sufficient progress" has been made for talks to move on to the second phase, which will cover trade agreements and a potential transition period.
European stocks rallied on the news, with the Stoxx Europe 600 index up 0.8% at 389.49. European markets were also propped up by a rally in bank stocks , which came after a long-awaited agreement on banking rules by global finance officials highlighted that most lenders hold a sufficient amount of capital.
The pound pound initially spiked (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/pound-rallies-to-6-month-high-against-euro-after-brexit-breakthrough-2017-12-08) to an intraday high of $1.3521, but has since slipped back to $1.3468.
What's coming up in economics?
Besides the jobs report, a reading on consumer sentiment in December is scheduled for release at 10 a.m. Eastern, as is a report on wholesale inventories for October.
There were no Federal Reserve speakers slated to speak on Friday.
What are strategists saying?
"I thought the jobs report was really good. It's hard to argue with anything on there, except the low level of wage growth gives us some pause," said J.J. Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade. "Wage growth is a conundrum, and that will make the Fed's upcoming statement really interesting. We have to see what they say about inflation because we're just not getting it."
Which stocks are in focus?
Shares of American Outdoor Brands Corp.(AOBC) tumbled 21% ahead of the bell after the gun maker late Thursday reported a drop in profit (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/gun-maker-american-outdoor-slashes-earnings-forecast-amid-challenging-market-conditions-2017-12-07) and forecast continued struggles amid "challenging market conditions."
United Natural Foods Inc.(UNFI) could also move in Friday's session. The food distributor late Thursday reported stronger-than-expected sales (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/united-natural-foods-raises-guidance-shares-fall-2017-12-07) and raised its full-year forecasts.
Gilead Sciences Inc.(GILD) said late Thursday it will buy privately held cellular therapy company Cell Design Labs Inc. for $567 million (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/gilead-sciences-to-buy-cell-design-labs-for-567-million-2017-12-07). Gilead shares weren't moving in Friday's premarket session.
Also in focus was United Continental Holdings Inc.(UAL). The airline operator said in Thursday's extended session it would buy back an additional $3 billion in shares (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/united-continental-to-buy-back-3-billion-more-in-shares-2017-12-07).
U.S.-listed stocks of European banks were among movers in Friday's premarket session after an agreement on banking rules. Shares of Deutsche Bank AG(DBK.XE) rose 1.9%, Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC(RBS.LN) added 1.9% and Barclays PLC(BCS) gained 3.4%.
What are other markets doing?
Asian stocks closed firmly in positive territory (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/samsung-helps-lift-kospi-as-asian-markets-gain-2017-12-07), with Japan's Nikkei 225 index staging a 1.4% rally.
Crude oil prices rose 0.7% to $57.10 a barrel, while gold prices dropped 0.4% to $1,247.80 an ounce.
Bitcoin slipped back below $15,000 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/bitcoin-briefly-breaks-below-15000-on-coindesk-slides-11-2017-12-08), just hours after blasting through the $17,000 milestone.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
December 08, 2017 09:07 ET (14:07 GMT)