Stock futures point lower ahead of employment-related reports

Investors have a full plate of economic reports to consider which may decide the direction of trading

U.S. equity futures are trading lower ahead of the release of the first employment-related reports of the week.

The major futures indexes suggest a decline of 0.5% when the opening bell rings on Wall Street.

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The morning will be filled with economic data.

First up will be the payroll processing firm ADP’s National Employment report for May. Economists are looking for a gain of 650,000 private-sector jobs, almost 100,000 below April’s increase of 742,000.

A short time later, the Labor Department is out with its tally of new claims for unemployment benefits for last week. Expectations are for 390,000, down from a pandemic low of 406,000 claims the prior week. Continuing claims, which track the total number of unemployed workers collecting benefits, are anticipated to drop by 27,000 to 3.615 million, also a new pandemic low.

These reports are a prelude to the monthly jobs report coming out on Friday.

Economists are forecasting employers added more than 660,000 jobs last month. 

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We'll get a look at revised first-quarter productivity and labor costs. Economists surveyed by Refinitiv anticipate that worker productivity rose at a 5.5% seasonally adjusted annual rate from January through March. Unit labor costs are expected to decline 0.4% in the first quarter compared to the preliminary reading of -0.3%.

Finally, the Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing PMI for May will be released. This key gauge of activity in the services sector of the economy is expected to edge higher to a reading of 63.0. For perspective, March’s reading of 63.7 was a record high. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion.

In Europe, London's FTSE is down 0.8%, Germany's DAX was off 0.4% and France's CAC declined 0.3%.

Shares advanced in Asia on Thursday after a day of modest gains on Wall Street, led by buying of energy and technology stocks. Oil prices also rose.

Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index rose 0.4%,  the Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost 1.1% and China's Shanghai Composite index lost 0.4%.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 33290.08 -533.37 -1.58%
SP500 S&P 500 4166.45 -55.41 -1.31%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 14030.375849 -130.97 -0.92%

On Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 rose 0.1% to 4,208.12.. The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged 0.1% higher, to 34,600.38. The Nasdaq recovered from an early slide, adding 0.1% to 13,756.33.

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Shares in movie theater operator AMC Entertainment are up 20% in premaret trading on Thursday morning. Shares nearly doubled in the prior session in another bout of heavy trading as the company embraced its status as a "meme" stock being driven higher by hordes of individual investors. Other stocks like GameStop that have been championed on online message boards and social media also rose.

Bond yields edged lower. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note was steady at 1.59%.

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U.S. benchmark crude slipped 15 cents to $68.68 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It picked up $1.11 to $68.83 per barrel on Wednesday. Brent crude, the international pricing benchmark, declined 10 cents to $71.25 per barrel.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.