Friday December 8th


US stock futures rise after jobs report beats estimates

U.S. stocks futures pointed to a higher open on Friday after the November jobs report showed better-than-expected growth. Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 65 points, while S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures gained 8 points and 38.25 points, respectively. The U.S. economy added 228,000 jobs last month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Economists polled by Reuters expected a gain of 200,000. Other data set for release Friday include consumer sentiment and wholesale trade figures due out at 10 a.m. ET. In the previous session, U.S. equities finished the trading day on a positive note, boosted by a rise in technology stocks. Looking overseas, Asia finished trade higher following upbeat trade data from China, while European stocks rose following developments surrounding Brexit negotiations. The Nikkei 225 advanced 1.39 percent, or 313.05 points, to close at 22,811.08, rebounding after recording a near 2 percent fall in the middle of the week. Across the Korean Strait, the Kospi edged up 0.08 percent to end at 2,646 as gains in heavyweight tech names offset losses seen in automakers and manufacturing plays. Greater China markets went higher in afternoon trade. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 1.32 percent by 3:10 p.m. HK/SIN as financial and most property stocks climbed. Tech was also one of the best-performing sectors on the mainland, where consumer stocks also recorded gains. The Shanghai Composite tacked on 0.55 percent to close at 3,290.17 and the Shenzhen Composite advanced 1.24 percent to end at 1,891.51. On Friday morning, the European Union and Britain jointly announced that they had finally agreed upon three key issues that were obstructing Brexit talks from developing — issues surrounding citizens' rights, the Irish border and the U.K.'s economic settlement to the EU have now been resolved. The overhaul in the U.S. tax system continues to linger at the back of investors' minds, with markets awaiting any developments surrounding the topic. On Thursday, Congress moved swiftly to deliver a short-term funding bill to President Donald Trump, in order to avoid a government shutdown this weekend. Concerns surrounding the state of the current U.S. administration continue to weigh on sentiment, with news emerging that Trump's approval rating has dropped to a new low of 32 percent, the lowest level since the incumbent took office earlier this year, a poll by Pew Research Center revealed. No major earnings are set to be published Friday. Oil prices rose on Friday, helped by rising Chinese crude demand and threats of a strike in Africa's largest oil exporter. But prices were still on track for their second straight weekly loss amid concerns that rising U.S. production would undermine OPEC-led supply cuts aimed at curbing a glut. Brent crude, the international benchmark for oil prices, was up $1.09, or 1.8 percent, at $63.29 a barrel by 8:05 a.m. ET (1305 GMT), but still heading for a weekly slide. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose $1, or 1.8 percent, to $57.69 a barrel. The contract was on track for a roughly 1 percent loss on the week. Gold prices steadied on Friday but were on track for their biggest weekly fall since May ahead of U.S. employment data later that could influence the pace of U.S. interest rate rises. Spot gold was down 0.1 percent at $1,245.66 an ounce at 1109 GMT, close to Thursday's low of $1243.71, the weakest since July 26. It had fallen 2.7 percent this week, its third consecutive weekly fall and the biggest since early May. U.S. gold futures were 0.4 percent lower at $1,247.80.