Futures contracts tied to the major U.S. stock indexes trimmed earlier losses on Friday as investors braced for the latest monthly jobs report.
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell 80 points, implying an opening loss of about 79 points, after falling more than 200 points earlier. S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures also traded well off their lows. Futures briefly turned positive around 8 a.m. ET.
The Labor Department is scheduled to release the March jobs report at 8:30 a.m. ET. That data will come a day after the U.S. government reported weekly jobless claims shot up by 6.6 million in the week of March 27. IHS Markit PMIs are also set for release at 9:45 a.m. ET.
The early morning moves on Friday followed one of the week’s better days on Thursday as oil’s biggest one-day rally ever soothed investors who’d grown worried over financial and job losses in the energy sector. Though West Texas crude futures still remain more than 50% lower for the year, the one-day rally was enough to carry the major equity indexes higher.
The Dow and S&P 500 rallied more than 2% each on Thursday. However, the major indexes were still headed for their third weekly loss in four. Entering Friday’s session, the Dow was down 1% while the S&P 500 had slipped 0.6%.
“Trends have now been Sideways for US and European equities for the last seven trading sessions, despite the massive swings,” said Mark Newton, managing member at Newton Advisors, in a note. “Gains have consolidated, but have not given way to much weakness that is sufficient to expect an immediate test of low.”
Both the Dow and S&P 500 remain more than 25% below their respective all-time highs set in February as jitters over the spread of COVID-19 foster volatile trading on Wall Street.
There have been more than 245,000 confirmed infections in the United States and more than 6,000 deaths from COVID-19, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Globally, more than 1 million cases have been confirmed.
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