Wall Street's confidence in the job market seems to be slipping away on Friday, as reflected by the U.S. index futures, which point to a slightly higher opening. Jobs data received over the past two sessions have cemented hopes concerning a sustainable uptick in the labor market, which could gradually bring the unemployment rate down from elevated levels. The September payrolls report is expected to reveal a modest pick up in the pace of job growth from August, while at the same showing that the jobless rate had not budged. Spanish concerns in particular and the eurozone's fiscal concerns at large could also render the mood cautious.
As of 6:30 am ET, the Dow futures are adding 15 points and the S&P 500 futures are moving up 0.90 points, while the Nasdaq 100 futures are gaining 4.50 points.
U.S. stocks advanced on Thursday after jobless claims rose by less than expected, increasing confidence in the labor market recovery.
On the economic front, the Labor Department is scheduled to release its monthly non-farm payroll report at 8:30 am ET. Economists expect non-farm payrolls for September to increase by 113,000, while the unemployment rate is expected to remain unchanged at 8.1 percent. The private sector is expected to have added 130,000 jobs. In August, the economy added 96,000 jobs, while the jobless rate dipped to 81. percent.
Additionally, the U.S. Federal Reserve is scheduled to release its monthly consumer credit report at 3 pm ET. Consumer credit for August is expected to show an increase of $7.8 billion following a $3.3 billion drop in July.
Outstanding consumer credit fell by $3.3 billion in July following an upwardly revised $9.8 billion increase in June. Economists expected an increase of $9.8 billion. Revolving credit tied to credit cards fell by $4.8 billion compared to a $1.6 billion increase in non-revolving credit.
In corporate news, Zynga (ZNGA) announced preliminary third quarter results, expecting break-even results to a loss of 1 cent per share on a non-GAAP basis on revenues of $300 million to $305 million. The company also lowered its 2012 guidance, citing reduced expectations for certain web games, including The Ville, and delays in launching several new games. The company expects books of $1.085 billion to $1.100 billion, down from its previous guidance of $1.150 billion to $1.225 billion. The company expects adjusted EBITDA of $147 million to $162 million.
Women's apparel retailer Cache (CACH) released estimated third quarter sales of $45.9 million, down from $48.7 million in the year-ago period, as comparable store sales fell about 3 percent. The company also pre-announced that it expects a net loss of 39-41 cents per share. The sales as well as bottom line expectations were below the consensus estimate.
The major Asian markets advanced, tracking the positive sentiment on Wall Street overnight. The two U.S. job data released on Wednesday and Thursday led traders to expect a fairly decent number when the Labor Department releases its non-farm payrolls report later in the day. The intransigence of Japan's central bank concerning additional stimulus did not deter traders from picking up stocks.
Japan's Nikkei 225 average opened higher and moved sideways in the morning before losing momentum and dipping below the unchanged line amid the Bank of Japan rate decision. However, the average recovered in late afternoon trading and spent the rest of the session above the unchanged line. The index closed up 38.71 points or 0.44 percent at 8,863.
Electric machinery makers Alps Electric, Mitsumi Electric and Furukawa Electric all advanced strongly. Resource stocks also found strong buying interest. Sony rallied 2.82 percent. Meanwhile, auto and most technology stocks moved to the downside. Utilities and pharma stocks also experienced weakness.
Australia's All Ordinaries closed up 41.20 points or 0.92 percent at 4,514. The market witnessed a broad based rally, with material, healthcare and consumer staple stocks showing particularly strong buying interest. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index closed at 21,012, up 104.43 points or 0.50 percent.
Following the conclusion of its monetary policy meeting, the Bank of Japan's Monetary Policy Board announced its decision to leave its uncollateralized rates unchanged at 0-0.1 percent. The central bank did not augment its quantitative easing program, which is currently at 80 trillion yen. The board downgraded its economic assessment, as it qualified the economic activity as leveling off more or less.
In major corporate news from the region, South Korean chipmaker Samsung reported September quarter operating profits of 8.10 trillion won, up 91 percent. The solid results came on the back of solid performance by its mobile phone business.
The major European averages opened moderately higher. With Spain remaining non-committal about seeking a bailout, uncertainty over the eurozone's future continues due to the fiscal issues faced by some constituent nations such as Spain and Greece.
In corporate news, Air Berlin reported September load factor of 85.45 percent, up 2.6 percentage points year-over-year. Meanwhile, capacity fell 6.9 percent.
by RTT Staff Writer
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