Dow Futures Up 150 Points, Payrolls Report in Focus

U.S. stocks are seen trading higher Friday, continuing a four-day winning streak ahead of the closely-watched monthly jobs report.

At 7:10 AM ET (1210 GMT), the Dow Futures contract was up 150 points, or 0.5%, S&P 500 Futures traded 20 points, or 0.5%, higher, and Nasdaq 100 Futures climbed 48 points, or 0.4%.

The major indices on Wall Street have recorded four straight days of gains, and are on course for their best weekly performance since November. They have been helped by signs of progress in the country’s vaccination program, hope for a substantial stimulus plan as well as optimism over its economic recovery.

The January nonfarm payrolls report, a widely-watched barometer of economic health, is due at 8:30 AM ET (1330 GMT), with an improvement from December’s weak report widely expected. Analysts are looking for 50,000 jobs to have been added last month after 140,000 were lost in December.

This follows initial jobless claims falling to the lowest figure since the end of November on Thursday, while Wednesday’s report from payroll processing firm ADP indicated private companies added 174,000 new jobs in January.

Sold corporate earnings results have also helped the tone, with data provider Refinitiv stating that of the almost 200 S&P 500 companies that have reported earnings to date, 84.2% have beaten expectations.

More companies are scheduled to report Friday, including the likes of drugmaker Regeneron and cosmetics firm Estee Lauder. Peloton Interactive and auto giant Ford are set to go in different directions after their published results late Thursday, while the Chamath Palihapitiyah-backed Clover Health will also be in focus after its 12% drop on Thursday.

On Capitol Hill, the Senate approved a budget resolution early Friday that will allow the Democrats to go ahead with a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill even if Republicans choose not to offer bipartisan support.

Oil prices firmed overnight, reaching their highest levels in a year on optimism of future economic growth as well as the continued commitment by major producers to curb supply.

U.S. crude futures traded 0.9% higher at $56.75 a barrel, after touching a high of $57.09, its highest since Jan. 22 last year, and is on track for a weekly gain of nearly 9%, which would be its biggest weekly gain since October.

The international benchmark Brent contract rose 0.7% to $59.41, after hitting a high of $59.74, its highest since Feb. 20 last year, and on track to rise 6% this week.

Elsewhere, gold futures rose 0.6% to $1,801.75/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.2% higher at 1.1982.

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