U.S. stock futures pointed to a lower open on Monday, ahead of fresh earnings reports later in the week, while Friday''s disappointing U.S. nonfarm payrolls data fuelled uncertainty over the strength of the U.S. job market''s recovery.
Ahead of the open, the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.23% fall, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.39% decline, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.42% drop.
Friday’s nonfarm payrolls report showed that the U.S. economy added 74,000 jobs in December, the smallest increase since January 2011 and well below expectations for 196,000 new jobs.
The unemployment rate fell to a five year low of 6.7% from 7% in November, but this was due in part to people dropping out of the labor force.
The surprisingly weak data tempered expectations that the Fed would cut its stimulus program again this month. The Fed cited a stronger labor market in its decision to cut its asset purchase program by USD10 billion in December, reducing it to USD75 billion-a-month.
Financial stocks were likely to be active, after the Federal Reserve was said to be investigating whether traders at the world’s biggest banks rigged benchmark currency rates. Shares in Bank of America were still up 0.12% in pre-market trade.
Meanwhile, Target was expected to remain in focus, after the discount retailer on Friday hiked its estimate of customers affected by as recent mass data breach to up to 110 million and said sales had been "meaningfully weaker than expected."
Also in the retail sector, Gap said its yearly profit might hit the higher end of its guidance, while Abercrombie & Fitch rose its full-year earnings outlook, sending shares soaring over 11% on Friday.
Elsewhere, Sanofi reportedly agreed to pay USD700 million for access to drugs developed by Massachusetts-based Alnylam Pharmaceuticals and a 12% stake in the biotechnology company.
Among auto companies, General Motors slipped 0.25% in early trading after saying it is closer to issuing a dividend for the first time since suspending the payout in July 2008.
Across the Atlantic, European stock markets were mostly higher. The EURO STOXX 50 rose 0.21%, France’s CAC 40 edged up 0.15%, Germany''s DAX added 0.18%, while Britain''s FTSE 100 dipped 0.01%.
During the Asian trading session, Hong Kong''s Hang Seng Index edged up 0.19%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index remained closed for a national holiday.
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