Stock futures point to gains ahead of monthly jobs report

Economists estimate that employers added 469,000 jobs in November

U.S. equity futures are pointing to higher open as traders wait for the biggest economic report of the month.

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The major futures indexes are suggesting a rise of 0.4% when the Friday trading session begins on Wall Street.

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The November employment report is expected to show a continued slowing in the number of workers being added to payrolls.

Economists surveyed by the data provider Refinitiv, have forecast that employers added 469,000 jobs in November, down from 638,000 in October. It would be a fifth straight month of decreasing gains.

The unemployment rate is projected to drop one-tenth of a percentage point to 6.8%.

JOBS REPORT WILL SHOW HOW MUCH PANDEMIC IS SQUEEZING HIRING

At the same time, the Commerce Department will release the U.S. trade balance for October. The deficit is anticipated to widen to $64.8 billion from $63.9 billion in September.

Later in the morning, Commerce will also report factory orders for October. They’re anticipated edge up 0.8%, after a 1.1% increase the prior month:

STOCK MARKET SEEING CORONAVIRUS RELIEF, VACCINE, DIVIDED GOVERNMENT: FORMER NYSE CEO

Asian stock markets followed Wall Street lower Friday after Pfizer cut the number of doses of a planned coronavirus vaccine it might ship this year.

The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo sank 0.2%, the Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 0.4% and China's Shanghai Composite gained 0.1%.

In Europe, London's FTSE added 0.8%, Germany's DAX was little changed and France's CAC gained 0.4%.

Wall Street's benchmark S&P 500 index closed 0.1% lower on Thursday, short of a new record. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.3% to 29,969.52. The Nasdaq composite added 0.2% to 12,377.18.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
I:DJIDOW JONES AVERAGES30814.26-177.26-0.57%
SP500S&P 5003768.25-27.29-0.72%
I:COMPNASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX12998.502287-114.14-0.87%

Investors hope one or more coronavirus vaccines might be available next year despite the challenges of making and distributing billions of doses that must be kept frozen.

Investors have been encouraged by signs Democrats and Republicans in Washington may get past their bitter partisanship to agree on an economic aid package.

PELOSI, SCHUMER ENDORSE $908B CORONAVIRUS RELIEF DEAL AS BASIS FOR NEGOTIATIONS

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke Thursday after Pelosi signaled a willingness to make major concessions. President-elect Joe Biden urged Congress on Wednesday to pass a relief bill now, with more aid to come next year.

An industry group reported Thursday that U.S. service industries grew in November, but the pace slowed for a second month.

The latest jobless claims figures from the Labor Department show that 712,000 workers sought aid last week, about three times the pre-crisis level. Still, it's well below the peak of nearly 7 million in late March, when states first implemented lockdown measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Economists surveyed by Refinitiv expected 775,000 new claims. It marked a decrease from the upwardly revised figure of 787,000 one week ago.

Oil prices edged higher after OPEC and allied countries including Russia agreed Thursday to increase oil production by 500,000 barrels per day starting from January. They slashed output earlier to shore up price as the pandemic and controls on business and travel depressed demand.

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Benchmark U.S. crude gained 66 cents to $46.30 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 36 cents on Thursday to $45.64 a barrel.

Brent crude, used to price international oils, was 68 cents higher at $49.39 per barrel in London. It added 46 cents the previous session to $48.71 a barrel.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.