Futures flat ahead of payroll report

By Reuters

Nov 07, 2014 07:25 AM EST

U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Friday, with investors holding off on making bets ahead of a key jobs report that could indicate whether the market's record levels are justified by the economy's fundamentals.

Analysts expect 231,000 jobs to have been added in October, a rate that would underscore the economy's resilience in the face of slowing global demand, though it represents a decline from 248,000 added in September. The nonfarm payroll report will be released at 8:30 a.m. (1330 GMT)

Recent data on the labor market, including jobless claims and the ADP National Employment report this week, have pointed to improving labor market conditions, but markets may be vulnerable if the number disappoints, especially with the U.S. Federal Reserve no longer supporting the market through its stimulative bond-buying program.

In addition, both the Dow and S&P 500 closed at records on Thursday, and a weaker-than-expected jobs report could spur market participants to take profits.

Equities have been strong in recent weeks, with the benchmark S&P 500 rising in 11 of the past 16 sessions, and only recording modest losses on its down days. The index has not closed with a loss of 1 percent since Oct. 13; it has had five days with a gain of that magnitude since then.

For the week, the Dow is up 0.9 percent, the S&P is up 0.7 percent and the Nasdaq is up 0.2 percent. It is the third straight week of gains for all three.

Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) late Thursday reported earnings that met expectations, boosted by strong movie performances, though cable networks were weaker. Shares of the Dow component, which closed at a record on Thursday, fell 2 percent to $90.20 in light premarket trading.

Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) fell 1 percent to $17.19 in premarket trading a day after it tripled its third-quarter loss to $232 million, a revision that added legal costs relating to global investigations into foreign exchange trading at major banks.

Futures snapshot at 6:52 a.m.:

* S&P 500 e-minis ESc1 were down 0.75 points, or 0.04 percent, with 114,559 contracts changing hands.

Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQc1 were up 4.25 points, or 0.1 percent, in volume of 19,418 contracts.

* Dow e-minis 1YMc1 were up 2 points, or 0.01 percent, with 19,911 contracts changing hands.

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