Thursday July 2nd


U.S. stock index futures ticked higher on Thursday, as investors digested the latest nonfarm payrolls report amid continued concern about Greece.U.S. nonfarm payrolls showed creation of 223,000 jobs and an unemployment rate of 5.3 percent. May's figure was revised down to 254,000. Bond yields fell, with the 10-year yield falling below 2.4 percent and the 2-year dipping to 0.64 percent. The U.S. dollar weakened, with the euro climbing to $1.11. The June jobs data was released a day early this month due to Friday's Independence Day holiday. Analysts polled by Reuters estimated the U.S. economy created 230,000 new jobs compared with 280,000 in May, with the unemployment rate falling to 5.4 percent from 5.5 percent. Ahead of the data, Dow Jones industrial average stock futures traded about 20 points higher, giving up some of their early gains as European stock markets traded flat. China's stock market, meanwhile, continued its slide, closing 3.5 percent lower as a relaxation in rules on using borrowed money to invest in the stock market failed to boost investor sentiment which has soured in recent weeks. U.S. stocks closed broadly higher on Wednesday, lifted by better-than-expected data and hopes of a resolution between Greece and its creditors. On Wednesday, Greece became the first developed economy to default on a loan with the International Monetary Fund. Talks between Greece and its international lenders are now postponed until after Sunday's referendum on the country's bailout terms. The crisis in Greece has fueled concerns that the country could become the first to leave the 19-member euro zone -- an uncertainty that has kept global markets on edge. In addition to the payrolls data, factory orders for May are due at 10 a.m. Asian stocks outside the mainland advanced on Thursday, tracking the strong finish on Wall Street overnight, but uncertainty over Greece's debt situation and the release of U.S. nonfarm payrolls data later in the day capped gains. Meanwhile, mainland stocks took another tumble to finish below the 4,000 mark despite regulators' efforts to put a floor to the market turmoil. Nikkei jumps 1%. Japan's Nikkei 225 leaped to a near one-week high, with exporters and insurers leading the charge in the broad-based rally. Oil prices steadied on Thursday after a day of steep losses driven by an unexpected build in U.S. crude stocks that added to a global supply glut. Traders were keeping a close eye on nuclear talks between Western powers and Iran, looking for any sign of a deal to lift sanctions on the oil-rich nation. Brent crude futures were trading 43 cents higher at $62.44 per barrel at 8:25 a.m. (1225 GMT), after dropping 2.5 percent in the previous session. Front-month U.S. crude futures were trading at $56.97, up 1 cent, following a 4.2-percent drop on Wednesday, Prices had slumped between 2.5 and 4 percent on Wednesday after a surprise weekly rise in U.S. crude inventories, the first build since April. Gold fell to a 3½ month low on Thursday, extending losses into a third straight session on a strong dollar ahead of U.S. jobs data that could support expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates soon. Spot gold slid to $1,159.60 an ounce, its lowest since March 18, and was trading 0.5 percent down at $1,161.66. It has lost about 1 percent in the previous two sessions. U.S. gold futures for August delivery were down $7.50 an ounce at $1,161.80.