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US Equity Futures Steady Before Key Jobs Data: Markets Wrap

(Bloomberg) — US stock futures were little changed after underlying indexes eked out gains in thin trading ahead of a three-day weekend that will see a crucial jobs report. The yen fluctuated after declining Thursday against the dollar for the first time this week.

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European markets are mostly shuttered for the Good Friday holiday, and equity markets also will be closed in the US, though the government will release a payroll report that traders will scrutinize for clues on the Federal Reserve’s next policy move. Stock futures will close at 9:15 a.m. in New York, 45 minutes after the jobs data land.

US Treasuries traded as usual in Tokyo, were closed during London hours and reopened at 6 a.m. in New York for a shortened session, with the recommended close at noon. The yield on the two-year note was little changed at 3.82%, down from 4.02% a week ago after a batch of weak economic data stoked bets for Fed easing.

The payrolls report is expected to show hiring slowed to a still-strong 230,000 jobs in March and the unemployment rate held near a historic low. As investors have aggressively priced in rate cuts this year, a “too hot” payrolls number would undermine those expectations, while a “too cold” report would add to worries about a hard landing, according to Tom Essaye, a former Merrill Lynch trader who founded The Sevens Report newsletter.

The cash S&P 500 concluded its first losing week in the past four as data Thursday showed filings for jobless claims surpassed estimates last week, a day after a private payrolls report indicated hiring slowed more than forecast.

Read: Bond Action Gets Crazy on Payroll Good Friday, Stocks Less So

US stocks bounced back from early losses on Thursday after St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said he didn’t think tighter credit conditions stemming from the recent banking turmoil would tip the economy into recession. Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund warned that its outlook for global economic growth over the next five years is the weakest in more than three decades, urging nations to avoid economic fragmentation caused by geopolitical tension and take steps to bolster productivity.

While much of Asia including Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore was closed for holidays, financial markets in Japan and mainland China were open. Japan’s benchmark Topix edged higher, ending a two-day slump, and shares in China and South Korea advanced.

Money Markets

The cash pile parked at money-market funds hit a fresh record high in the past week, although inflows slowed from the recent breakneck pace. About $49.1 billion poured into US money-market funds in the week to April 5, bringing total assets to an unprecedented $5.25 trillion, according to data from the Investment Company Institute.

Money-market funds have been scooping up cash recently. Initially much of that flow was driven by more attractive rates, but concern about the steadiness of some smaller lenders helped turbocharge that within the past month.

Some of the main moves in markets:


  • S&P 500 futures fell 0.1% as of 7:05 a.m. in New York

  • Nasdaq 100 futures were little changed.

  • The Topix gained 0.3%, while the Nikkei 225 added 0.2%

  • The Shanghai Composite Index added 0.3% and the CSI 300 gained 0.6%




This story was produced with the assistance of Bloomberg Automation.

–With assistance from Naoto Hosoda and Stephen Kirkland.

(A previous version corrected to say stocks bounced back on Thursday in sixth paragraph.)

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