Friday March 10th


Dow futures fall following Thursday’s market selloff fueled by banks, U.S. jobs report looms

U.S. stock index futures fell Friday as investors look to upcoming job data for clues into how the Federal Reserve may move forward. The action follows a steep sell-off led by bank shares. Dow futures shed 66 points, or 0.2%. S&P 500 futures dipped 0.1%, and Nasdaq-100 futures traded flat. Shares of the SVB Financial tumbled again on Friday, down another 40% after initially plunging on plans to raise more than $2 billion in capital in a bid to offset losses from bond sales. The move weighed on the financial sector and banking stocks. Wall Street posted a losing session Thursday. A drop in SVB Financial shares spurred a broad financial sector selloff, as investors grew concerned that higher interest rates would result in banks facing losses on loans due to borrower defaults. The selloff pushed the financial sector down 4.1% for its worst day since 2020. On Thursday, the Nasdaq Composite recorded a 2.05% slide, while the S&P 500 posted a 1.85% dip. The Dow lost 543.54 points, or 1.66%, as the 30-stock index closed below its 200-day moving average for the first time since Nov. 9. All three major averages are on pace to finish the week down 3% or more. Wall Street is bracing for February jobs report, which is slated to be released at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists polled by Dow Jones expect nonfarm payrolls to rise 225,000 in the month, which would mark a slowdown in growth from January’s unexpectedly large gain of 517,000. The unemployment rate is expected to remain unchanged from January — when it hit a low not seen since 1969 — at 3.4%, according to Dow Jones. Hourly wages are expected to have increased 0.4% from the prior month, gaining 4.8% from 12 months ago, economists estimate. While having more jobs is considered good for the economy, a better-than-expected report can push stocks lower, according to Brad McMillan, chief investment officer for Commonwealth Financial Network. That’s because more workers can signal more demand, he said, which would indicate higher inflation. Traders are pricing in a roughly 63% chance of the Federal Reserve raising rates by half of a percentage point at its next policy meeting in about two weeks, according to the CME FedWatch Tool. Investors see Friday’s job report as a key driver in that decision, given the central bank’s continued focus on the strength of the labor market as a justification for rate increases. “A strong report would be bad news for the Fed, for interest rates, and for markets,” McMillan said. Stocks in the Asia-Pacific dipped on Friday, as investors await the closely watched February non-farm payrolls report from the U.S. that could further determine the direction on the Federal Reserve’s rate hikes ahead. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong fell 3.09%, leading losses in the region. In mainland China, the Shenzhen Component shed 1.2% and the Shanghai Composite fell 1.4% as China’s Xi Jinping formally secured an unprecedented third term as president. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 tumbled 2.28% to close at 7,144.7 — continuing the selloff on Wall Street led by bank stocks on contagion worries related to Silicon Valley Bank. South Korea’s Kospi lost 1.01% to 2,394.59 and the Kosdaq fell 2.55% to 788.60. The Nikkei 225 in Japan shed 1.67% to 28,143.97 and the Topix lost 1.91% to 2,031.58 as Bank of Japan held its interest rates at -0.1%, widely in line with expectations in a Reuters poll. Oil fell for a fourth session on Friday, heading for its biggest weekly loss in five weeks on worries about the prospect of steep interest rate hikes in the United States hitting fuel demand. Brent dipped 71 cents, or 0.9%, to $80.88 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude (WTI) was down 74 cents, or 1%, at $74.98. Gold prices edged up on Friday but were on track for a weekly fall as prospects of further interest rate hikes dented its allure, while traders awaited a U.S. non-farm payrolls report due later in the day. Spot gold was up 0.2% at $1,835.28 per ounce. Prices have fallen more than 1% this week. U.S. gold futures rose 0.2% to $1,839.