Market waiting on Friday's jobs number

August 6, 2015 09:15 AM

Wall Street was set to open little changed on Thursday as nervous investors shied away from taking big positions ahead of Friday's jobs data that may offer clues on the timing of an interest rate increase.

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq composite rose on Wednesday following three days of losses as tech shares advanced, while the blue-chip Dow index ticked lower, weighed by Walt Disney's largest daily drop in almost seven years.

U.S. economic data released in the last few days have been largely mixed, prompting some investors to argue that the Fed might hold off rate hikes until December.

The Fed has said it will raise rates only when it sees a sustained recovery in the economy. A hike in rates, which have stayed near zero for nearly a decade, will increase borrowing costs for companies, crimping profits.

"I've been leaning towards September because while the data has been mixed, none of it has been really bad," said Randy Frederick, managing director of trading and derivatives for Charles Schwab in Austin, Texas.

"I think a hike is good for the market because we can finally stop worrying about it, and historically the Fed has always been slow regarding subsequent increases."

Data released on Thursday showed that the number of Americans filing new applications for unemployment benefits rose less than expected last week, indicating tighter labor market conditions.

S&P 500 e-minis were up 1.25 points, or 0.06%, with 100,921 contracts traded at 8:38 a.m. ET. Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 5.75 points, or 0.13%,on volume of 19,391 contracts while Dow e-minis were up 8 points, or 0.05%, with 11,883 contracts changing hands.

Marathon Oil, Monster Beverage and Zynga are among the companies scheduled to report after the close of market.

With about three-quarters of the S&P 500 companies having reported, second-quarter earnings are estimated to have increased 1.3% while revenues are projected to have fallen 3.5%.

Mondelez International shares rose 6.9% to $49.42 in premarket trading after billionaire activist investor William Ackman's hedge fund said it has built a stake worth about $5.5 billion in the Cadbury chocolate and Oreo cookies maker.

Michael Kors Holdings rose 6.1% to $41.89 after its results beat expectations.

Tesla Motors fell 6.2% to $253.34 after the electric carmaker posted a wider quarterly loss.

Keurig Green Mountain slumped 30% to $52.76, a day after the company lowered its annual sales and earnings-per-share forecasts.

Fitbit fell 9.5% to $46.70 after the wearable fitness tracking devices maker said margins fell in the second quarter.


(Reporting by Tanya Agrawal; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)


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Tanya Agrawal, Reuters