Wall St. mulls jobs report
Data on new jobs, wages and unemployment key to Friday's markets
May 05, 2000: 9:05 a.m. ET
NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Wall Street finally got to see one of the things it has been waiting for Friday - April's somewhat stronger-than-expected report on employment and wages - sending stock futures down in before-hours trading.
The report, seen as a key clue about the future of interest rates, included an unemployment rate slightly below expectations - at 3.9 percent, the lower rate in 30 years. A survey by Briefing.com forecast that the rate would drop to 4.0 percent from 4.1 percent in March.
But the even more closely watched figure on average hourly wages rose only 0.4 percent, about in line with forecasts. The government reported 458,000 new jobs in the quarter, although 73,000 of those were census workers. The Briefing.com survey forecasts only 325,000 new jobs.
With Federal Reserve officials making comments suggesting a heightened alert to signs of inflation, the report will be carefully scrutinized for clues about further interest rate hikes expected later this month, when Fed policy-makers meet.
Some observers say reports such as Friday's jobs data will have a tremendous impact on the central bank's policy-makers, led by Chairman Alan Greenspan, as they mull whether to raise rates a quarter or half percentage point when they meet May 16.
"I do not think he (Greenspan) has made up his mind," said David Jones, chief economist for Aubrey G. Lanston, in an interview early Friday on CNNfn's Ahead of the Curve. "He may wait until the very last minute before he tips his hand." (268KB WAV) (268KB AIFF)
Early indications suggest U.S. stocks will open lower, as the futures dropped about a half hour after the release of the jobs data.
The Nasdaq 100 futures dropped 24.50 to 3,565 early Friday. They were 33.48 points below the Nasdaq fair value, a benchmark set daily by traders to balance demand for the future contracts relative to the underlying demand for the component stocks, leading traders to expect a higher open for the Nasdaq market.
S&P futures, the most widely watched futures contract, dropped 7.80 points to 1,415.40 on the Globex trading system. That was 2.48 points below its fair value of 1,417.88, suggesting a lower open for that broader stock market measure.
The S&P futures are also watched as an indicator of the Dow Jones industrial average, with one point of difference between the futures index and fair value equal to about eight points on the Dow Jones industrial average. So the S&P futures suggested the Dow would open down about 20 points Friday.
The Dow Jones industrial futures themselves were down 88 points to 10,435.
On Thursday, U.S. stocks finished mixed on some of the lightest volume of 2000. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 67.64 points, or 0.7 percent, to 10,412.49, while the S&P 500 index slipped 5.72 points to 1,409.38. But the Nasdaq composite index gained 12.93 points to 3,720.24.
Overseas markets also see light trading
Trading and volatility were also light in Asia Friday in advance of the U.S. employment report. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index slipped 45.43 points, or 0.3 percent, to 15,268.64. Singapore's Straits Times index edged down 2.44 points to 2,118.36.
Taiwan's benchmark Weighted index rallied 3.2 percent, after the island's finance minister announced measures to help cash-strapped firms. The index had fallen during recent sessions amid concern about Taiwan's relations with China.
Tokyo's markets remained closed as the three-day Golden Week holiday reached an end.
Major markets rose in light morning trading in Europe Friday. London's benchmark FTSE 100 gained 59.10 points to 6,258.70, while the Paris CAC 40 edged up 32.59 points to 6,524.33. In Frankfurt, the Xetra Dax index rose 53.02 points to 7,439.73, but Zurich's SMI lost 20.90 points to 7,479.
In the Treasury market, the 30-year bond dropped 19/32 of a point in price in trading early Friday, sending its yield, which moves in the opposite direction, to 6.20 percent, compared with 6.15 percent in trading late Thursday. The 10-year note, which some observers now consider their Treasury benchmark, slipped about 11/32 of a point, which raised its yield to 6.48 percent from 6.43 percent late Thursday.
In the currency market, the dollar weakened slightly against both the euro but gained on the yen in early trading Friday. The euro rose to 89.99 cents from 88.99 cents in late trading Thursday. Meanwhile, the dollar rose to 108.30 yen in early trading, compared with 108.20 yen in late trading Thursday.
So, da das Tageshoch mal wieder mit dem Börsenschluß in Europa zusammengefallen ist und die Amis selber wieder am Verkaufen sind, werd ich mich in der nächsten Euphorie von meinen Amiwerten verabschieden - ist aber momentan noch zu früh.