US Equity Futures Steady Before Key Jobs Data: Markets Wrap Up

(Bloomberg) — U.S. stock futures were little changed after the benchmarks gained in thin trade ahead of a three-day weekend that will see a key jobs report. The yen saw volatility after Thursday’s decline against the dollar for the first time this week.

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European markets are mostly closed for the Good Friday holiday, and stocks in the U.S. will also be closed, although the government will release a payrolls report that traders will look to for clues about the Federal Reserve’s next policy move. Stock futures close at 9:15 a.m. in New York, 45 minutes after the jobs data lands.

U.S. Treasuries traded as usual in Tokyo, closed in London hours and reopened at 6 a.m. in New York for a shortened session, the recommended afternoon close. The yield on the two-year note was little changed at 3.82%, up from 4.02% a week ago, as weak economic data fueled a race for central bank easing.

The payrolls report showed that hiring slowed to a more robust 230,000 jobs in March and the unemployment rate is expected to remain at a historic low. As investors have aggressively priced in rate cuts this year, a “too hot” payroll number would undermine those expectations, while a “too cool” report would raise concerns about a hard landing, said Tom Esse, a former Merrill Lynch trader. He founded The Seven’s Report newsletter.

The benchmark S&P 500 ended its first losing week in four weeks after Thursday’s data showed jobless claims filings beat estimates last week, a day after a private payrolls report showed that hiring fell more than forecast.

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Read: Bond action goes crazy on Good Friday payrolls, stocks lower

U.S. stocks rebounded from early losses on Thursday after St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said he did not think tighter credit conditions stemming from the recent banking turmoil would push the economy into recession. Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund warned that its outlook for global economic growth over the next five years is the weakest in more than three decades, urging countries to avoid economic fragmentation caused by geopolitical tensions and take steps to boost output.

While much of Asia, including Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore, was closed for the holiday, financial markets remained open in mainland Japan and China. Japan’s benchmark topics rose, ending a two-day slide, and stocks in China and South Korea advanced.

Money markets

Stocks parked in money market funds hit a new record last week, although inflows have slowed from recent highs. About $49.1 billion poured into U.S. money-market funds in the week to April 5, bringing total assets to an unprecedented $5.25 trillion, according to data from the Investment Firm.

Money-market funds have been collecting cash lately. Much of that run was initially driven by more attractive rates, but concerns about the sustainability of some smaller lenders helped turbocharge it within the last month.

Some key movements in the markets:

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  • S&P 500 futures were down 0.1% as of 7:05 a.m. in New York.

  • Nasdaq 100 futures were little changed.

  • The Topix rose 0.3%, while the Nikkei 225 added 0.2%

  • The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.3% and the CSI 300 rose 0.6%.

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This story was produced with the help of Bloomberg Automation.

–With assistance from Nato Hosoda and Stephen Kirkland.

(An earlier version was corrected to say that stocks rose again on Thursday in the sixth column.)

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