Dow Futures Flat Ahead of Jobs Reports

LONDON — Stock index futures at 7am ET indicate that the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI) may open down by 3 points this morning, while the S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC) may open unchanged. The CNN Fear & Greed Index has risen into ‘fear’ territory, and is set to open at 27 today, after closing at 17 yesterday.

European markets made modest gains this morning, but investors were cautious ahead of this afternoon’s European Central Bank (ECB) interest rate decision and press conference, which are due at 8.30am and 9.15am ET respectively. Forecasts suggest that the ECB will leave its benchmark rate unchanged at 0.5%, in line with the Bank of England’s decision earlier this morning to leave its key rate unchanged at 0.5%. At 7am, the FTSE 100 was up 0.50%, the DAX was up 0.31% and the CAC 40 was up 0.37%.

Today’s US economic calendar includes the first of this week’s employment figures, ahead of tomorrow’s nonfarm payrolls. At 8.15am ET, August’s ADP employment survey is expected to show that 185,000 new private sector jobs were added last month, down slightly from 200,000 in July. At 8.30am, last week’s jobless claims figures are expected to show 330,000 new claims last week, down marginally from 331,000 during the previous week. The second-quarter productivity report is due at 8.30am, and is expected to show that productivity rose by 1.9% in the second quarter, after rising by 0.9% during the first quarter. Finally, at 10am, August’s ISM nonmanufacturing PMI is expected to read 55, down from 56 in July, while factory orders are expected to have fallen by 3.5% during July, after rising by 1.5% in June.

Today’s raft of economic reports means that corporate reports may be side-lined unless they contain unexpected news, but shares in LinkedIn may fall further following yesterday’s news that the firm intends to raise $1bn through a secondary share offering. LinkedIn shares were down 2.7% in pre-market trading, but BlackBerry stock was up 2.3% in early trading, after a report in The Wall Street Journal raised hopes for a quick private sale, suggesting that the firm has a short list of potential buyers.

Companies due to report quarterly results before the open this morning include Conns and Jos. A Bank Clothiers, while Smith & Wesson, VeriFone and Quiksilver are scheduled to report after tonight’s closing bell.

Finally, let’s not forget the Dow’s daily movements can add up to some serious long-term gains. Indeed, Warren Buffett recently wrote: “The Dow advanced from 66 to 11,497 in the 20th Century, a staggering 17,320% increase that materialized despite four costly wars, a Great Depression and many recessions.

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> Roland does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article.