Stock futures turn positive ahead of monthly jobs report

Economists have forecast that job growth reached 182,000 last month, according to Refinitiv

U.S. equity futures have turned positive ahead of the release of the February employment report as bond yields remain high.

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Dow futures suggest a gain of 0.2% when the final trading day of the week gets underway on Wall Street.

U.S. payrolls are expected to show a sizable increase in non-farm hiring in February compared to the prior month.

Declining cases of COVID-19 and consumer spending boosted by government aid checks contributed to a tenative recovery.

Economists have forecast that job growth reached 182,000 last month, according to Refinitiv.

US JOB GROWTH LIKELY ROSE IN FEBRUARY IN REBOUND FROM SLUMP

The unemployment rate is predicted to have remained steady at 6.3%.

Investors were disappointed with remarks by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on Thursday when he said inflation will likely pick up in the coming months, though he cautioned that the increase would be temporary and would not be enough for the Fed to alter low-interest rate policies set to help the economy recover from the pandemic.

POWELL SAYS INFLATION COULD SEE TEMPORARY SPIKE, BUT PLEDGES FED WILL BE PATIENT

Powell did not indicate the Fed might seek to rein in rising bond yields, which tend to draw money out of stocks into less risky bonds.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note jumped to 1.54% during Powell's remarks, from 1.47% just before, a significant move. At the beginning of the year the yield was trading at 0.93%. Early Friday it was at 1.56%.

In Europe, London's FTSE is up 0.3%, Germany's DAX is declining 0.6% and France's CAC is down 0.4%.

In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 lost 0.2%, the Hang Seng in Hong Kong gave up 0.5% and China's Shanghai Composite index was less than 0.1% lower.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang announced an annual growth target of “over 6%" at the opening of the annual session of the National People's Congress.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 34021.45 +433.79 +1.29%
SP500 S&P 500 4112.5 +49.46 +1.22%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 13124.988183 +93.31 +0.72%

On Thursday, the S&P 500 fell 1.3% to 3,768.47, its third straight loss. It briefly dipped into the red for the year and is on track for its third consecutive weekly loss.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 1.1% to 30,924.14. The Nasdaq composite dropped 2.1%, to 12,723.47 in a pullback that knocked the tech-heavy index into the red for the year.

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In energy trading, the price of U.S. crude oil rose $1.57 to $65.39 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It jumped 4.2% on Thursday after OPEC members agreed to leave most of their existing oil production cuts in place. Brent crude, the international standard, surged $1.75 to $68.49 per barrel.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.