Monday March 12th


Stock futures point to strong gains at the open after jobs report

U.S. stock index futures pointed to higher open Monday morning, after the latest jobs report eased lingering concerns over inflation and the prospect of faster rate hikes. At around 8:15 a.m. ET, Dow futures were up about 60 points. The Nasdaq and S&P 500 futures were also expected to open higher on Monday. The moves in premarket trade come after Wall Street stocks surged in the previous session. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite advanced 1.8 percent to 7,560.81 on Friday, hitting intraday and closing records while erasing losses from last month's correction. The Nasdaq 100, which is made up of the 100 largest companies in the Nasdaq composite, also reached a record high. Friday marked the first time since January 26 that either index reached a record high. Shares of Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google helped lead the gains. In Europe on Monday, equities were trading higher as a relief rally swept across global markets. Inflation worries appeared to dissipate after U.S. economic data showed annual growth in average hourly earnings slowed to 2.6 percent, after a spike at the start of 2018. Although the same data on Friday showed nonfarm payrolls jumped by 313,000 last month. Asian stocks got off to a strong start to the week, with regional markets closing higher on Monday. Those gains came after stock indexes stateside surged in the last session on expectation-topping U.S. jobs data. In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 closed up 1.65 percent, or 354.83 points, to close at 21,824.03 after recording a more than 400-point gain earlier in the session. Over in Seoul, the benchmark Kospi index advanced 1 percent to end at 2,484.12, its highest levels in around five weeks as manufacturing and tech names notched gains. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index advanced 1.84 percent, or 571.77 points, by 3:22 p.m. HK/SIN, as energy and tech names led broad-based gains. Mainland markets also traded higher, but saw slighter gains: The Shanghai composite edged up by 0.58 percent to close at 3,326.33 and the Shenzhen composite finished 1.24 percent higher at 1,908.84. On Monday, the U.S. is set to release its monthly budget statement for February at around 2 p.m. ET. Market expectations are pricing in a -$216 billion deficit for the federal government's operating budget. Oil prices gave up earlier gains on Monday as rising U.S. output loomed over markets, despite a slowdown in rig drilling activity. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $61.91 a barrel at 0755 GMT, down 13 cents, or 0.2 percent. Brent crude futures were at $65.38 per barrel, down 11 cents, or 0.2 percent, from their previous close. Gold prices inched down on Monday pressured by a stronger equity market, with the latest U.S. jobs report easing fears of inflation and faster U.S. rate hikes, reviving risk appetite globally. Spot gold edged lower 0.1 percent to $1,322.10 per ounce at 0734 GMT. U.S. gold futures for April delivery fell 0.1 percent to $1,322.60 per ounce.