Indecisive investor sentiment in the US, which led to a gain of 0.25% for the Dow and a 1.00% loss for the NASDAQ yesterday, continues this morning with the holiday weekend approaching as Dow Futures are up 0.1% and NASDAQ futures are down 0.2%. European markets are more positive so far today with the Dax up 0.2% and the FTSE up 0.7%. Energy and metals trading is quiet with Gold and WTI Crude Oil flat and Copper up 0.4%.
Employment remains the main focus of news in the back half of this week. Canadian job growth beat expectations in March (34.7K vs street 12.0K), and wage inflation continued to ease (5.2% vs previous 5.4%). The US employment situation appears murkier this week. US weekly jobless claims have jumped significantly (this week 228K vs street 200K, last week revised up to 242K from 198K), adding to the disappointment of yesterday’s soft ADP payrolls report.
Although equity markets are closed for Good Friday tomorrow, US nonfarm payrolls (street 240K vs previous 311K) and Average Hourly Earnings (street 4.3% vs previous 4.6%) are coming out at 8:30 am EDT. Index futures trading may provide an initial sign of investor response to the news although the main reaction may not occur until exchanges fully reopen on Monday.
Overnight earnings reports were positive with consumer products producers Constellation Brands ($1.98 vs street $1.82) and Levi Strauss ($0.34 vs street $0.32) beating expectations.