Futures Pointing To Roughly Flat Open On Wall Street
The major US index futures are pointing to a roughly flat opening on Monday, as traders may be reluctant to make any significant moves.
Ahead of the Good Friday holiday, traders may stick to the sidelines early on amid a relatively quiet day on the U.S. economic front.
With traders digesting mixed jobs data as well as developments overseas, stocks showed a lack of throughout much of the trading session on Friday. The major averages spent the day bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line.
The major averages eventually ended the session slightly lower. The Dow edged down 6.85 points or less than 0.1 percent to 20,656.10, the Nasdaq slipped 1.14 points or less than 0.1 percent to 5,877.81 and the S&P 500 fell 1.95 points or 0.1 percent to 2,355.54.
For the week, the Dow closed nearly flat, while the Nasdaq slid by 0.6 percent and the S&P 500 dipped by 0.3 percent.
The choppy trading on Wall Street came following the release of a report from the Labor Department showing much weaker than expected job growth in March but also an unexpected drop in the unemployment rate.
The Labor Department said non-farm payroll employment climbed by 98,000 jobs in March after surging up by a revised 219,000 jobs in February. Economists had expected an increase of about 180,000 jobs.
Despite the weaker than expected job growth, the unemployment rate fell to 4.5 percent in March from 4.7 percent in February. The unemployment rate had been expected to come in unchanged.
With the unexpected decrease, the unemployment rate fell to its lowest level since hitting 4.4 percent in May of 2007.
ING Senior Economist James Knightley noted employment has risen by 920,000 in the past two months using the household survey.
“So there is a real contradiction with the employment survey, which will only add to the confusion on how to interpret the report,” Knightley said.
Traders were also keeping an eye on developments overseas after the U.S. launched a missile strike on a Syrian airbase overnight.
Reports said U.S. warships in the Mediterranean Sea launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles targeting the al-Shayrat airbase in central Syria.
President Donald Trump claimed a suspected chemical weapons attack on a rebel-held Syrian town earlier this week was launched from the airbase that was struck.
Trump’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping was also in focus, although the summit was largely overshadowed by the attack on Syria.
Most of the major sectors ended the day showing only modest moves, contributing to the lacklustre close by the broader markets.
Oil service stocks saw considerable weakness, however, with the Philadelphia Oil Service Index sliding by 1.2 percent. The index pulled back after ending the previous session at its best closing level in a month. The weakness among oil service stocks came despite an increase by the price of crude oil.
Natural gas and trucking stocks also saw some weakness on the day, while strength was visible among biotechnology stocks.