U.S stock futures point to a lower opening Friday morning as traders await a key job report from the Labor Department to decide the further course of the market. Mixed data released in the past two sessions have prompted traders to lock profits and move to the sidelines.
As of 6.30 am ET, the Dow Futures were down 29.00 points, the S&P Futures were down 4.00 points, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures were down 3.50 points.
The Labor Department is slated to release the jobs report for the month of July 2009 at 8.30 am ET. Economists estimate that the U.S. economy lost 325,000 jobs in July and look for an unemployment rate of 9.6%.
Also on tap is the consumer credit report for the month of June from the U.S Federal Reserve at 2.00 pm ET. According to analysts, consumer credit is likely to show a decline of $5 billion.
Earnings continue to be in the focus of the traders as the reporting season approaches the final phase. Prominent companies slated to release their report cards during the day include American International Group (AIG) and Ambac Financial Group (ABK).
Traders will also be digesting the report cards of major companies that reported quarterly results after the market closed for trading on Thursday.
Fannie Mae (FNM), the government-sponsored home mortgage finance company, reported a heavy loss for the second quarter on higher credit related expenses, impairments and fair value losses. Further, the company said it has applied for additional $10.7 billion aid from the federal government and is dependent on the continued support of Treasury for operating its business.
Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated (COKE), which is about 27.1% owned by the Coca-Cola Co.(KO) said its profit for the second quarter dropped 19.7% from a year ago.
In corporate news, Allianz SE, a leading insurance company in Europe, reported a 16% drop in income from continuing operations for the first quarter, hurt by poor show from the property and casualty units. However, net income for the quarter rose from the same period last year, which included loss from discontinued operations.
The Royal Bank of Scotland reported a net loss of $1.7 billion for the first half of the year, hurt by bad debts. The bank also warned that it foresees poor results for the next two years.
On Thursday, stocks ended in negative territory with modest losses amid the release of the weekly jobless numbers from the Labor Department, which signaled that the pace of job losses might be slowing down. Profit taking was witnessed as traders turned cautious and preferred to move to the side lines ahead of the key employment report on Friday.
The Dow closed down by 24.71 points or 0.3% at 9,256, the Nasdaq slipped by 19.89 points or 1% to 1,973, and the S&P 500 fell by 5.64 points or 0.6% to 997.
Oil Light sweet crude oil price for September delivery is presently quoted at $71.32 a barrel, down $0.62 from its previous close $71.94 a barrel in New York on Thursday.
Dollar The US dollar is gaining against the pound, but it is weakening against the yen and the euro.
World Markets The markets across Asia have ended in negative territory as traders preferred to lock gains and move to the sidelines ahead of the key job report in the U.S. The markets in Europe are also trading in the negative territory, dragged down by banks.