Stocks May Extend Recent Upward Trend

Stocks may move to the upside in early trading on Friday, extending the upward trend seen over the past few sessions. The major index futures are currently pointing to a higher open for the markets, with the Dow futures up by 56 points.

The continued upward momentum on Wall Street comes even though the Labor Department released a report showing much weaker than expected job growth in the month of August.

The Labor Department said non-farm payroll employment climbed by 156,000 jobs in August compared to expectations for an increase of about 180,000 jobs.

The report also said the job growth in June and July was downwardly revised to 210,000 jobs and 189,000 jobs, respectively, reflecting a net downward revision of 41,000 jobs.

Reflecting the weaker than expected job growth, the unemployment rate inched up to 4.4 percent in August from 4.3 percent in July. Economists had expected the unemployment rate to remain unchanged.

Shortly after the start of trading, the Institute for Supply Management is scheduled to release its report on activity in the manufacturing sector in the month of August.

The ISM’s purchasing managers index is expected to inch up to 56.5 in August from 56.3 in July, with a reading above 50 indicating growth in the manufacturing sector.

The Commerce Department is also due to release its report on construction spending in the month of July. Construction spending is expected to rise by 0.5 percent.

Additionally, the University of Michigan is scheduled to release its revised report on consumer sentiment in the month of August. The consumer sentiment index is expected to be downwardly revised to 97.4.

Stocks moved mostly higher during trading on Thursday, adding to the gains posted in the two previous sessions. With the upward move on the day, the tech-heavy Nasdaq reached a new record closing high.

The major averages ended the day firmly in positive territory. The Dow rose 59.92 points or 0.3 percent to 21,952.35, the Nasdaq jumped 60.35 points or 1 percent to 6,428.66 and the S&P 500 climbed 14.02 points or 0.6 percent to 2,471.61.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Friday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index and China’s Shanghai Composite Index both rose by 0.2 percent, although Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index bucked the uptrend and edged down by 0.1 percent.

The major European markets have all moved to the upside on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index has risen by 0.4 percent, the German…

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