Genuine optimism may have scored over worries about the Federal Reserve’s next monetary policy move, following Friday’s surprisingly good unemployment data.
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average, or DJIA, were up 0.04 percent, while futures on the S&P 500 were up 0.09 percent, and those on the Nasdaq Composite Index were up 0.13 percent.
On Friday, following a strong showing on the jobs front, which saw the unemployment rate fall to 7 percent -- the lowest it’s been since November 2008 -- stocks rallied to push the DJIA up nearly 200 points while the S&P 500 climbed more than 1 percent.
This makes the case stronger for the Fed to begin winding down, or tapering, its massive $85-billion-a-month bond-buying program that’s been acting as a stimulus for markets in the U.S. and abroad.
On Thursday, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Dennis Lockhart said, he thinks “it is appropriate in coming meetings to put a tapering decision on the table,” adding that it would be reasonable for markets to expect the asset-purchase program to “wind down over the coming year.”
The next meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, or FOMC, is scheduled for Dec. 17-18.
Later this week, data on jobless claims for the week ended Dec. 7 and retail sales for the month of November are due at 8:30 a.m. EST on Thursday. Investors and the Fed are expected to watch the two data points for further clues to the health of the world’s largest economy.
“November’s retail sales data (Thursday) are likely to provide further evidence that consumption growth is strengthening, as the impact of the tax hikes at the start of the year fades,” a note from Capital Economics said.
In Europe, stocks were mostly down with the Stoxx Europe 600 index trading down 0.2 percent while the FTSE 100 was down 0.22 percent. Germany’s DAX-30 was up 0.04 percent while France's CAC-40 was down 0.35 percent.
In Asia, markets were mostly up following better-than-expected economic data from China and the U.S. Japan’s Nikkei was up 2.29 percent but Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.8 percent. The Shanghai Composite index was up 0.05 percent while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was up 0.29 percent. South Korea’s KOSPI Composite index was up 1.01 percent while India’s BSE Sensex ended the day up 1.57 percent.