MarketWatch.com - Pre-Market Indications

Friday, August 6, 2010

Indications: Stock futures edge higher ahead of key jobs report

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By Polya Lesova, MarketWatch

FRANKFURT (MarketWatch) -- Caution dominated the market early Friday, with U.S. stock futures inching slightly higher as investors awaited a key report expected to show a decline in July nonfarm payrolls and to offer more clues on the pace of the economic recovery.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 16 points to 10,651. S&P 500 futures gained 2.90 points to 1,126.40, and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 4.50 points to 1,905.50.

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The Labor Department will release its closely watched report on nonfarm payrolls at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time. Total payrolls are expected to have declined by 60,000 in July after falling 125,000 in the previous month. The unemployment rate likely rose to a seasonally adjusted 9.6% from 9.5% in June.

"All eyes will be on private payrolls, given the headline distortion around Census hiring," said strategists at Deutsche Bank in a note.

Economists expect the private sector to have added 100,000 jobs in July, more than the 83,000 jobs created in June.

"A poor payrolls number today could raise fears about the U.S. recovery, and this could spur investors to reduce their portfolio of risky asset classes," said Joshua Raymond, market strategist at City Index, in a note to clients.

On the corporate front, American International Group Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!aig/quotes/nls/aig (AIG 39.90, -0.12, -0.30%) reported second-quarter adjusted earnings of $1.99 a share compared to $1.71 a share in the same period a year ago. Analysts, on average, were looking for a profit of 98 cents a share, according to a survey by FactSet Research. Shares of AIG rallied 5.9% in premarket trade.

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!brk.a/quotes/nls/brk.a (BRK.A 121,385, +185.00, +0.15%) will release its results after the market closes.

U.S. stocks ended marginally lower Thursday, with the Dow /quotes/comstock/10w!i:dji/delayed (DJIA 10,675, -5.45, -0.05%) edging down 0.05% and the S&P 500 index /quotes/comstock/21z!i1:in\x (SPX 1,126, -1.43, -0.13%) dropping 0.1%.

RBS, Allianz report results

The Europe Stoxx 600 index /quotes/comstock/22c!sxxp (ST:SXXP 259.48, -2.00, -0.76%) gained 0.4% in afternoon trading. Investors digested several reports from European banking and insurance groups.

Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC /quotes/comstock/13*!rbs/quotes/nls/rbs (RBS 16.54, -0.14, -0.84%) /quotes/comstock/23s!a:rbs (UK:RBS 51.35, -0.65, -1.25%) , the U.K. bank that's 83%-owned by the government, said it returned to profit in the second quarter. Shares of RBS advanced 2.1% in London trading. Read more about RBS results.

German insurance firm Allianz SE /quotes/comstock/11e!falv (DE:ALV 90.01, -0.24, -0.27%) reported a 46% drop in second-quarter net profit, but its operating profit rose 23% to 2.19 billion euros. The company's shares gained 1.2% in Frankfurt.

In Belgium, shares of banking group Dexia SA /quotes/comstock/24s!e:dexb (BE:DEXB 3.79, -0.18, -4.44%) slipped 2.9% after it reported a decline in quarterly net profit.

On the economic front, Italy's gross domestic product expanded by 0.4% in the second quarter compared to the first three months of the year, meeting forecasts, preliminary data showed. GDP grew by 1.1% year on year, slightly short of expectations.

The euro /quotes/comstock/21o!x:seurusd (EURUSD 1.3270, +0.0085, +0.6447%) edged down to $1.3171, as a report showed that German industrial output unexpectedly declined in June. Read more about Germany's economic data.

The dollar index /quotes/comstock/11j!i:dxy0 (DXY 80.35, -0.48, -0.59%) , which tracks the performance of the greenback against a basket of other major currencies, was little changed at 80.891.

In the commodity markets, September oil futures dipped 18 cents to $81.83 a barrel in electronic trading on Globex. Gold futures fell $3 to $1,196.30 an ounce.

On the Chicago Board of Trade, September wheat futures gained 10 cents, or 1.4%, to $7.96 a bushel. The contract rallied in the previous session after Russia imposed a temporary ban on its grain exports amid a devastating drought. Read more about wheat's rally.

Polya Lesova is a reporter for MarketWatch, based in Frankfurt.

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