Market Snapshot: U.S. stock futures extend gains after August jobs data seen keeping Fed rates on hold


U.S. stock index futures extended gains Friday after August jobs data reassured investors that the Federal Reserve won’t take interest rates much higher.

The data comes ahead of a three-day weekend, with U.S. markets closed Monday for Labor Day.

What’s happening

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average futures YM00, +0.41% rose 139 points, or 0.4%, to 34,930.
  • S&P 500 futures ES00, +0.53% gained 24.25 points, or 0.5%, to 4,540.25.
  • Nasdaq-100 futures NQ00, +0.54% advanced 87.25 points, or 0.6%, to 15,625.75.

The S&P 500 SPX fell 1.8% in August, while the Nasdaq Composite COMP shed 2.2%, the first monthly decline for both indexes since February. The Dow DJIA fell 2.4% after back-to-back monthly gains.

What’s driving the market

The Labor Department said the U.S. economy added 187,000 jobs in August, topping economist expectations for a gain of 170,000 but still affirming a slowdown in the pace of job gains that’s likely to be welcomed by the Federal Reserve. The unemployment rate jumped to 3.8% from 3.5% in July.

“Today’s data wasn’t a blowout number, and this means things are more likely to remain on track when it comes to the Fed,” said Naeem Aslam, chief investment officer at Zaye Capital Markets. “Basically, the data has confirmed once again that a softening of the job market is very much in play while the overall picture for the labor market is still strong.”

“So, most traders believe that the Fed is more likely to stay on the sidelines, but at the same time, inflation pressure remains intact,” he said.

MarketWatch Live: Coverage of the August jobs report and the market reaction

There’s also the Institute for Supply Management’s August manufacturing sector activity index, as well as monthly auto sales, that will be released later Friday. Thursday’s after hours releases saw mixed responses, with Dell Technologies Inc. DELL, +0.99% stock rallying but Broadcom Inc. shares AVGO, +3.43% wilting after results.

In China, August Caixin manufacturing PMI came in above expectations, rising to 51, a level that indicates improving conditions, as the country also lowered down-payment requirements on homes. The Hong Kong market was shut as Typhoon Saola was expected to make landfall on Friday.

Companies in focus

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