Stock Futures Flat Ahead of Jobs Report

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Traders await July’s jobs report on Friday morning.

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Spencer Platt/Getty Images

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US stock futures were flat Thursday evening as investors await the release of July’s employment report.

The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated mildly during the session, falling 0.1% and 0.3%, respectively, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rose 0.4%.

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July’s jobs report, which the US Department of Labor is set to publish Friday at 8:30 am, will offer markets an updated snapshot of one of the most important measures of the economy. The latest headline employment statistics, as well as more detailed statistics on movement in average weekly earnings, might also provide investors, and the Federal Reserve itself, a sense of whether recent increases

to the central bank’s target interest rate have begun to curtail hiring demand.

At 6:30 pm Eastern time, futures for the S&P 500 were perfectly flat, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.01%. The Nasdaq was down 0.01%.

Even as other economic data, like last week’s advance estimate of negative second-quarter gross domestic product growth, have hinted at a slowdown in economic output, Fed. Chair Jerome Powell has cited the labor market’s overall strength as an indicator that the economy isn’t in a recession.

According to a survey of 28 economists by The Wall Street Journal, the unemployment rate is expected to remain at 3.6% in July, just one-tenths of a percent higher than the fifty-year-low it dipped to before the pandemic. After briefly spiking during the economic shutdowns of spring 2020, the rate quickly fell and has held steady at 3.6% since March of this year. Economists expect that the economy added 258,000 new nonfarm payroll jobs in July, compared with 372,000 in June.

“Data since the last payroll report points to labor market slack beginning to ease from extremely tight levels,” Morgan Stanley economists wrote in a preview note this week. “The Job Openings and Labor Market Turnover survey for June showed a decline in the job openings rate relative to the number of unemployed persons, suggesting that excess demand for labor from businesses continues to ease from its very high levels.”

Economists polled by The Journal expect average hourly wages to rise 0.3% month-over-month, which would be nearly exactly in line with June’s increase.

In after-hours trading Thursday, Cloudflare (ticker: NET ) soared 21% after reporting $234.5 million in quarterly revenue, roughly $80 million more than the company made during the same period last year.

DoorDash ( DASH ) was also up big, rising 12% after the food-delivery service reported quarterly revenue that beat analysts’ expectations while elevating its full-year guidance. Its quarterly revenue of $1.6 billion represented a 30% increase from a year prior.

Lyft’s ( LYFT ) own second-quarter revenue of $990.7 million was also up 30% from a year ago, and shares in the ride-sharing company gained 9% in late trading.

Carvana ( CVNA ), Atlassian ( TEAM ), and Chegg ( CHGG ) were also up Thursday evening, rising 10.6%, 10.5%, and 9.6%, respectively.

Meanwhile, Zillow ( Z ) saw its quarterly revenue fall as the housing market slows, and its shares dropped 8.4% Thursday evening. Twilio ( TWLO ) was down 7.4%, while Warner Bros. Discovery ( WBD ) fell 11%

Liberty Broadband ( LBRDA ), Western Digital ( WDC ), DraftKings ( DKNG ), and Goodyear Tire ( GT ), among others, report earnings before the market opens Friday morning.

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