The major U.S. index futures are pointing to a roughly flat opening on Thursday, with stocks poised to extend the lackluster performance seen in the previous session. Traders may remain reluctant to make significant moves ahead of the release of the Labor Department’s closely watched monthly jobs report on Friday.
After an initial move to the upside, stocks turned in a relatively lackluster performance over the course of the trading session on Wednesday. The major averages spent much of the day bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line.
The Nasdaq eventually ended the session down 0.29 points or less than a tenth of a percent at 6,362.65, while the Dow rose 52.32 points or 0.2 percent to 22,016.24 and the S&P 500 inched up 1.22 points or 0.1 percent to 2,477.57.
The initial strength on Wall Street reflected a positive reaction to the latest earnings news, with Apple (AAPL) moving notably higher after reporting better than expected quarterly results.
Traders seemed reluctant to make significant moves, however, looking ahead to the release of the Labor Department’s monthly jobs report on Friday.
The report is expected to show employment climbed by 180,000 jobs in July, while the unemployment rate is expected to dip to 4.3 percent.
Payroll processor ADP released a report before the start of trading showing private sector employment increased by less than expected in July.
ADP said private sector employment climbed by 178,000 jobs in July after jumping by 191,000 jobs in June. Economists had expected an increase of about 185,000 jobs.
“Job gains continued to be strong in the month of July,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and co-head of the ADP Research Institute. “However, as the labor market tightens employers may find it more difficult to recruit qualified workers.”
Commodity, Currency Markets
Crude oil futures are rising $0.18 to $49.77 a barrel after climbing $0.43 to $49.59 a barrel on Wednesday. An ounce of gold is trading at $1,272.90, down $5.50 compared to the previous session’s close of $1,278.40. On Wednesday, gold dipped $1.
On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 110.39 yen compared to the 110.72 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Wednesday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.1861 compared to yesterday’s $1.1856.
Asian shares fell on Thursday as investors locked in recent gains, awaiting fresh direction from the Bank of England’s interest rate decision later in the day and the all-important U.S….