Stock futures were little changed Friday morning, as investors refocused their attention on the upcoming June jobs report and the implications for the Federal Reserve’s policy stance. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 futures inched lower. Nasdaq-100 futures slipped by 0.2%. Levi Strauss shares tumbled 7% as the denim giant cut its profit outlook for the year. This week’s main event for economic data looms ahead: the Labor Department’s June payrolls report, which is due Friday morning. Economists polled by Dow Jones anticipate an increase of 240,000 positions, a cooldown from May’s gain of 339,000 jobs. Investors are on high alert for signs that the central bank will tighten policy even further. Traders now forecast a 91% chance the Fed will raise rates at its July meeting, according to the FedWatch tool from CME Group. Policymakers indicated at their June gathering that two more rate hikes could be ahead in 2023. “The Fed is signaling a willingness to keep tightening, but markets aren’t convinced it will happen as much as the Fed projects,” Kathy Jones, chief fixed income strategist for the Schwab Center for Financial Research, wrote in a bond market update. “The gap between the peak rate implied by the dot plot and market expectations has narrowed but hasn’t closed.” The major averages slipped Thursday after data from ADP showed that private sector employers added 497,000 jobs in June. That figure far exceeded the 220,000 estimate from economists polled by Dow Jones. The ADP results spurred worries about the Fed’s next steps. Bond yields spiked during regular trading Thursday, with the rate on the 2-year Treasury — which is most sensitive to the central bank’s policy —touching its highest level since 2007. Stocks also fell, as the 30-stock Dow shed more than 1%. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite slid about 0.8% each. The three major averages are on their way to a losing week. The S&P 500 is off by about 0.9%, while the Nasdaq is on pace for a 0.8% decline. The Dow is the underperformer of the three, tracking for a 1.4% loss. Markets in Asia-Pacific marked a second day of declines after Wall Street sold off on stronger-than-expected U.S. jobs data, leaving room for more rate hikes ahead by the Federal Reserve. U.S. Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen is in Beijing for a four-day trip to meet Chinese officials, marking a deepening thaw in ties between the U.S. and China. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 0.9% in its final hour of trade as the Hang Seng Tech index dropped nearly 1%. In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite fell 0.28% to 3,196.61 and the Shenzhen Component fell 0.73% to close at 10,888.55. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 fell 1.69%, leading losses in the region, to close at 7,042.3. Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 1.17% to end its session at 32,388.42 and the Topix shed 0.97% to close at 2,254.9. In South Korea, the Kospi slid 1.16% to close at 2,526.71 as Samsung Electronics estimated a 96% likely plunge in its second quarter operating profit. Oil prices rose on Friday and were on track for their second straight weekly gain, as resilient demand resulted in a larger-than-expected fall in U.S. oil stockpiles, offsetting fears of higher U.S. interest rates. Brent crude futures were up 38 cents, or 0.5%, at $76.90 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude gained 36 cents, or 0.5%, to $72.16 a barrel. Both benchmarks were set to gain about 2% on the week. Gold futures on Friday were on track for a weekly loss as recent U.S. jobs data and hawkish comments from Federal Reserve policymakers strengthened bets for higher-for-longer interest rates, weighing on non-yielding bullion. U.S. gold futures gained 0.4% to $1,922.60 but were down 0.4% for the week. Spot gold edged 0.3% higher to $1,916.39 per ounce.
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