U.S. stock market index futures were little changed Friday as investors looked ahead to the December jobs report release. Strong jobs data in the previous session led to declines in the major averages as it pointed to further rate hikes ahead. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose by 24 points, or 0.07%. S&P 500 futures declined 0.01%, while Nasdaq-100 futures slipped 0.25%. Economists polled by the Dow Jones expect the U.S. added 200,000 jobs last month, which would mean a deceleration from gains in the prior month. A better-than-expected report pointing to a resilient labor market could mean the Federal Reserve has further to go in its efforts to tame inflation. The Dow on Thursday fell more than 300 points Thursday after the release of a stronger-than-expected ADP private payrolls report. This raised concern for higher Federal Reserve rates, which in turn stoked fears that the U.S. could fall in to a recession soon. “I’m allowing in my thinking that we could have a recession by the end of the year, and that recession will be brought about by Fed tightening, QT, quantitative tightening, a stronger dollar, or the price of oil,” said Omega Family Office’s Leon Cooperman on CNBC’s “Closing Bell: Overtime” on Thursday. “And if we have a recession, the market will have ended its decline, say, down 35% from its peak, so that gives you the low 3,000s,” Cooperman added. Stocks are headed for losses in the first trading week of 2023. As of Thursday’s close, the Dow is down 0.66% week to date, headed for its fourth down week in five. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq are both on pace for their fifth straight week of losses, down 0.82% and 1.54%, respectively. Markets in the Asia-Pacific traded mostly higher as the Federal Reserve signaled further rate hikes ahead. The U.S. ADP private payrolls report said employers added 235,000 jobs in December — showing a strong labor market despite the Fed’s attempt to tame inflation and suggesting there is room for higher rates. South Korea’s Kospi gained 1.12% to 2,289.97. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.65% to close at 7,109.600. The Nikkei 225 in Japan rose 0.59% to close at 25,973.85 and the Topix inched up 0.37% to 1,875.76. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index pared most of its gains and was marginally lower in its final hour of trade as China reportedly signaled more supportive measures for its property sector ahead. The Shanghai Composite gained 0.08% to close at 3,157.64 and the Shenzhen Component rose 0.32% to 11,367.73. Oil prices edged higher on Friday on hopes of a Chinese demand boost, but the broader global economic outlook kept crude benchmarks on course for a weekly decline. Brent crude futures rose 56 cents, or 0.71%, to $79.25 a barrel by 1009 GMT. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were up 60 cents, or 0.81%, at $74.27. Both contracts rose by more than $1 earlier in the session. Gold prices edged higher on Friday and were on track for a third straight weekly gain, with investors keenly awaiting key U.S. jobs report to gauge the Federal Reserve’s rate-hike stance. Spot gold was up 0.1% at $1,835 per ounce. Prices gained about 0.6% so far this week. U.S. gold futures were flat at $1,839.70.
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