Futures flat before payrolls report
David Russell | [email protected]
S&P 500 futures have been oscillating on either side of unchanged since closing modestly higher yesterday. European markets are posting small losses and Asia was mixed in the overnight session, with most indexes gaining except for Japan's Nikkei. Thailand and India continue to recover from major selloffs.
Profit-taking and concerns about conflict with Syria drove the S&P 500 lower in August, making it only the second negative month since November. It's been trying to bounce at its 100-day moving average for the last week as investors focus on indications of strong growth from around the world.
In addition to Syria, the market is concerned about the Federal Reserve halting a program of buying Treasury bonds to prop up the economy. That worry has driven interest rates to their highest levels in more than two years.
It also increases the importance of the employment report at 8:30 a.m. ET today because a strong reading could be viewed as leading to higher interest rates and therefore trigger selling. Economists on average predict that 177,000 jobs were added last month, up from 162,000 in July. The unemployment rate is expected to remain unchanged at 7.4 percent.
Despite the S&P 500 being down 3 percent in the last month, optionMONSTER's proprietary researchLAB market scanner shows capital flowing into groups such as ocean-shippers, coal miners, iron-ore producers, and energy stocks--all of which benefit from a stronger global economy. Transports have also outperformed.
Copper, another bellwether of global growth, is climbing more than 1 percent this morning, while oil is up half a percent. Agricultural foodstuffs are modestly higher, and precious metals are little-changed.
Trading is more mixed in the foreign-exchange markets, with the Japanese yen rebounding from recent declines. While that's normally bearish, the Australian dollar--also correlated with the global economy--is continuing to rebound from long-term lows.
In company-specific news, Finisar is indicated up more than 7 percent after issuing a strong outlook for the current quarter. The news follows similar comments by Ciena, confirming that big telecom carriers are increasing capital expenditures. Metal-products company Timken is also rallying on plans to split into two companies, and surf-wear company Quicksilver is up 17 percent on strong quarterly results.