Stock futures rose slightly as investors prepared for February jobs report, Russia and Ukraine updates

Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, February 24, 2022.

Source: NYSE

Stock futures rose Thursday evening ahead of the key jobs report as investors kept monitoring developments in the war in Ukraine.

Futures linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 107 points, or 0.3%. Those of the S&P 500 rose 0.3%, while those of the Nasdaq 100 futures rose 0.3%.

The moves come ahead of the Labor Department’s February jobs report. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones expected 440,000 jobs growth, and the unemployment rate to fall to 3.9%. Hourly wages are expected to grow 5.8% year over year.

This is the last jobs report before the upcoming Federal Reserve meeting, when the central bank is expected to start raising interest rates. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said on Wednesday that it is Tends to support a single high of 25 basis points in March. The base point is equal to 0.01%.

“I think because we saw Powell say, frankly uncharacteristically, specifically that the scheme to support a 25 basis point increase, the speculative thinking may be more firmly grounded at 25 basis points even if we see a stronger increase,” said Lauren Goodwin, economist and portfolio strategist at New York Life. Investments, “Report to be expected tomorrow.”

Goodwin said the wage growth component of the report could be a key data point as traders try to figure out which policy path to track.

“Even 5.8% wage growth counts as a wage cut if inflation rises above 7%,” Goodwin said.

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The war on Ukraine will also be on top of investors’ minds on Friday. Ukraine still controls its capital, Kyiv, after more than a week of fighting, despite increasing reports of bombing in other major cities. Millions of Ukrainians have fled the countryaccording to the United Nations.

Meanwhile, economic sanctions imposed by the United States and its allies have effectively cut off the Russian economy from large parts of the global financial system. JPMorgan said in a note Thursday that the Russian economy could contract 35% at an annual rate in the second quarter.

Energy prices have risen significantly since the invasion, although they cooled slightly during Thursday’s trading. US West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose slightly at around $109 a barrel on Thursday evening.

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Earnings reports led some big moves in extended trading. Gap retailer And restaurant chain Sweetgreen both surged after exceeding expectations. Chip maker Broadcom’s stock rose after it beat earnings and revenue estimates.

Thursday, The three major averages closed lower after a choppy session. The Dow was positive for most of the day before closing down 96 points. The Nasdaq, dragged down by software stocks, fell 1.56%.

The Dow is down 0.9% for the week, on course for the fourth consecutive negative week. The S&P 500 is down about 0.5% for the week, while the Nasdaq Composite is down more than 1%.

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