US stock futures flat ahead of key jobs data: Markets wrap

(Bloomberg) — US stock futures were little changed after major indexes posted gains in thin trade ahead of a three-day weekend that will see an important jobs report. The yen fluctuated after falling against the dollar on Thursday for the first time this week.

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European markets are mostly closed for the Good Friday holiday, as will stock markets in the US, although the government will release a payroll report that traders will scrutinize for clues to the Fed’s next policy move. Stock futures are trading and closing at 9:15 am in New York, 45 minutes after the jobs data plunge.

US Treasuries traded as usual in Tokyo, closed during London hours and reopened for a brief session in New York. Trading is expected to resume around 6am in New York, with a recommended close of noon.

While most of Asia including Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore are closed for holidays, financial markets in Japan and mainland China were open. Japan’s Topix rose, ending a two-day decline, and stocks rose in China and South Korea.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index just ended its first week of losses in the past four years as a raft of economic data raised concerns that the US economy is heading towards a recession. Data on Thursday showed that jobless claims beat estimates last week, a day after a private payrolls report indicated hiring slowed more than expected. Trading in S&P 500 shares was 20% lower than the 30-day average on Thursday, as traders held back from big bets ahead of jobs data and the long weekend.

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The jobs report is expected to show employment slowing to a still strong 230,000 jobs in March and the unemployment rate near a historic low. With investors aggressively priced in rate cuts this year, a “very hot” payroll number should dampen those expectations, while a “very cold” report should add to concerns about a hard landing, according to Tom Esay, trader Former Merrill Lynch founder of The Sevens Report newsletter.

Read: Bond movement gets crazy on Good Friday payroll, lower stocks

US stocks rebounded from early losses on Thursday after St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard said he didn’t think tighter credit conditions stemming from the recent banking turmoil would tip the economy into a recession. Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund warned that its projections for global economic growth over the next five years are the weakest in more than three decades, urging countries to avoid an economic divide caused by geopolitical tensions and take steps to boost productivity.

money markets

Money market funds’ cash piles hit a new record last week, though cash flows have slowed from their recent brisk pace. About $49.1 billion was injected into US money market funds in the week ending April 5, bringing total assets to an unprecedented $5.25 trillion, according to data from the Investment Firm Institute.

Money market funds have been making cash lately. At first, much of that influx was driven by more attractive rates, but concern about the stability of some smaller lenders has helped add to that over the past month.

Some of the major movements in the markets:

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  • S&P 500 futures were little changed as of 2:45 pm Tokyo time

  • Nasdaq 100 futures fell 0.1%.

  • Topix rose 0.3%, while Nikkei 225 rose 0.2%.

  • The Shanghai Composite added 0.3% and the CSI 300 rose 0.6%.



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This story was produced with help from Bloomberg Automation.

— With assistance from Naoto Hosoda and Stephen Kirkland.

(An earlier version was corrected to say that shares rebounded again Thursday in the sixth paragraph.)

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