Thursday November 5th


Futures higher; jobs report in focus

U.S. stock index futures indicated a higher open on Thursday as traders looked to Friday's key employment report and reacted to comments on Wednesday from Fed Chair Janet Yellen, who reiterated the possibility of raising rates in December, given supportive data. Another key central bank leader, New York Fed President William Dudley, separately told reporters Wednesday that he would "completely agree" with Yellen on a December hike. While more Fed speakers are scheduled for Thursday — including Fed Vice Chair Stanley Fischer, the Philadelphia Fed's Patrick Harker and the Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart — analysts said Yellen's comments and the forthcoming jobs report are most important. Weekly jobless claims came in at 276,000, above expectations. Third-quarter productivity increased at a 1.6 percent annual rate, while labor costs rose 1.4 percent. Also, October payroll reductions fell 14 percent from September to 50,504, and were down 1.3 percent from the year-ago period, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas. Treasury yields held near recent highs, with the 10-year yield at 2.24 percent and the 2-year near 0.83 percent as of 8:40 a.m. The U.S. dollar traded flat against major world currencies, with the euro slightly higher near $1.087. Earnings season continued Thursday, with Celgene and SeaWorld Entertainment, among others, posting results before the open. Disney, Kraft Heinz, Monster Beverage, News Corp., Tableau Software, Clovis Oncology, Dreamworks Animation, Fair Isaac, Glu Mobile, Shake Shack, TrueCar, Weight Watchers and Wingstop are among companies due to report after the bell. In Europe, the pan-European Stoxx 600 index was around 0.7 percent higher on Thursday. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei finished 1 percent higher, while in China the Shanghai Composite closed 1.87 percent higher. Oil futures inched up on Thursday after losses the previous session on official figures showing a sixth consecutive week of inventory gains in U.S. crude stockpiles. Oil prices slumped as much as nearly 4 percent on Wednesday after the Energy Information Administration said U.S. crude inventories added 2.85 million barrels last week, in line with forecasts, despite a drop in imports to the lowest level since 1991. U.S. crude was up 11 cents at $46.43 a barrel by 7:29 a.m. EDT (1129 GMT). It fell $1.58, or 3.3 percent, to $46.32 on Wednesday. Brent crude rose 11 cents to $48.69 a barrel, after dropping 3.9 percent the day before. Gold held near a one-month low on Thursday as the dollar rose to a three-month high and the metal looked vulnerable to further losses after U.S. Federal Reserve officials left the door open to a rate rise in December. Spot gold was up 0.1 percent at $1,108.70 an ounce, not far above the previous session's low of $1,106, its weakest since Oct. 2. Bullion, which has lost nearly $60 during the past six trading sessions, is about $30 shy of a 5-1/2-year trough of $1,077 hit in July.