MarketWatch.com - Pre-Market Indications

Friday, November 5, 2010

Indications: U.S. stock futures slip ahead of jobs data

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By Polya Lesova, MarketWatch

LONDON (MarketWatch) â€" U.S. stock futures edged lower on Friday after the previous session’s rally, as investors retreated to the sidelines ahead of jobs data that may provide more clues about the state of the troubled American labor market.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average /quotes/comstock/21b!f:dj\z10 (DJZ10 11,416, +29.00, +0.25%)  fell 18 points to 11,369 and S&P 500 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:sp\z10 (SPZ10 1,220, +1.70, +0.14%)  were off 3.40 points to 1,215.20.

Nasdaq 100 futures /quotes/comstock/21m!f:nd\z10 (NDZ10 2,186, +1.75, +0.08%)  slipped 3 points to 2,181.50.

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Data on nonfarm payrolls for October are due for release at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time. Economists polled by MarketWatch expect a 70,000 increase in nonfarm payrolls, which would be the first gain since May. The unemployment rate is expected to edge up to 9.7% in October from 9.6% in the previous month.

“Clearly the focus for the day ahead will be on October’s U.S. employment report, although in our view this report is probably of less significance than it has been in recent times, unless of course we get a payrolls number significantly different from expectations,” said strategists at Deutsche Bank in a note to clients.

Data on September pending-home sales will be released after the market opens.

The blue-chip Dow index /quotes/comstock/10w!i:dji/delayed (DJIA 11,435, +219.71, +1.96%)  surged 2% on Thursday to end at 11,434.84, finishing higher for the fifth day in a row. That was also the Dow’s highest close since early September 2008.

Overnight, Asian stocks extended the global markets rally, with Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average rising 2.9%. The Bank of Japan kept interest rates on hold, as expected, and announced details of assets, including exchange-traded funds, it plans to buy under its latest program.

“Japan’s economy still shows signs of a moderate recovery, but the recovery seems to be pausing,” the bank said in a statement.

In Europe, stock markets were mixed following the previous session’s rally. The Stoxx Europe 600 index /quotes/comstock/22c!sxxp (ST:STOXX600 271.84, +1.01, +0.37%)  fell 0.1% in intraday trading.

Shares of American International Group Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!aig/quotes/nls/aig (AIG 44.74, +1.17, +2.69%)  slipped 1.7% in premarket trading. The firm reported a third-quarter net loss of $2.4 billion, or a loss of $17.62 per share, compared to net income of $455 million, or $0.68 per share, in the same period a year ago.

Coventry Health Care Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!cvh/quotes/nls/cvh (CVH 23.48, +0.08, +0.34%)  said its third-quarter net profit more than doubled to $189.9 million, or $1.29 a share. The firm also raised its full-year outlook.

Washington Post Co. /quotes/comstock/13*!wpo/quotes/nls/wpo (WPO 383.90, -3.40, -0.88%)  is also scheduled to release quarterly results.

Shares of Starbucks Corp. /quotes/comstock/15*!sbux/quotes/nls/sbux (SBUX 29.75, +0.65, +2.23%)  rose nearly 4% in premarket trading. The coffee-shop chain said fiscal fourth-quarter net operating income doubled to $399.3 million and sales rose 17% to $2.8 billion.

Two big European banks provided trading updates on Friday. HSBC Holdings PLC /quotes/comstock/13*!hbc/quotes/nls/hbc (HBC 56.92, +3.01, +5.58%)   /quotes/comstock/23s!a:hsba (UK:HSBA 689.00, -6.10, -0.88%)  said its third-quarter pretax profit was “well ahead” of the year-earlier result. However, the run rate of profits was lower than the bank achieved in the first half of the year.

Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC /quotes/comstock/13*!rbs/quotes/nls/rbs (RBS 15.42, +0.68, +4.61%)   /quotes/comstock/23s!a:rbs (UK:RBS 45.38, -1.76, -3.73%)  said its third-quarter net loss narrowed.

Shares of HSBC and RBS fell 2.7% and 5.4% respectively in premarket U.S. trading.

In the currency markets, the U.S. dollar traded slightly higher against its major rivals. The British pound fell 0.3% to $1.6210.

Polya Lesova is chief of MarketWatch’s London bureau.

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