Stocks slip, investors cautious ahead of U.S. jobs data

2022-08-05T11:53:22Z

European equities slipped on Friday and were little changed on the week as traders waited for U.S. jobs data to give clues as to the health of the world’s largest economy.

The MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in 47 countries, was up 0.1% and set for weekly rise of 0.6%, marking its third consecutive week of gains (.MIWD00000PUS).

At 1117 GMT, the STOXX 600 was down 0.3% (.STOXX) and on track for a 0.1% loss for the week as a whole. London’s FTSE 100 was down 0.2% (.FTSE). Wall Street futures were steady , . read more

Central banks around the world have been raising interest rates in an attempt to limit surging inflation, but European stocks have picked up in recent weeks and are trading near two-month highs.

“Equity futures have grown comfortable with the idea that interest rate hikes that the central banks are putting through will be sufficient to contain inflation in the longer term,” said Kiran Ganesh, multi-asset strategist at UBS.

Investors will look to U.S. jobs data to see if the Federal Reserve’s aggressive pace of rate hikes is starting to cause economic growth to slow.

The data is expected to show that nonfarm payrolls increased by 250,000 jobs last month after rising by 372,000 in June. read more

“Until now, markets have been responding to stronger economic data as good news. But at some point, they will maybe question whether the Fed’s tightening is having the desired effect if the economy remains strong,” wrote ING economists in a note to clients.

“At that stage, they could start to fret that rates may rise higher, or stay higher for longer.”

UBS’s Ganesh said a nonfarm payrolls figure in the 200,000 to 300,000 range would be consistent with a “soft landing” for the economy, while a higher figure would suggest that the Fed needed to raise interest rates more to contain demand.

Data on Thursday showed the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits increased last week, suggesting that a weakening in the labour market might already be underway. read more

Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester struck a hawkish tone on Thursday, saying the Fed should raise interest rates to above 4% to bring inflation back down to target. read more

The closely watched part of the U.S. Treasury yield curve measuring the gap between yields on two- and 10-year Treasury notes reached 39.2 basis points on Thursday, the deepest inversion since 2000.

An inverted yield curve is often seen as an indicator of a future recession.

Oil rose, recovering after the previous session saw prices hit their lowest levels since February. Concerns about supply shortages were enough to cancel out fears of weakening fuel demand. read more

Global crude oil markets remained firmly in backwardation, where prompt prices are higher than those in future months, indicating tight supplies.

The U.S. dollar index was up around 0.2% and the euro was down 0.1% at $1.0233 . The Australian dollar, which is seen as a liquid proxy for risk appetite, was down 0.4% at $0.6942 . read more

The British pound was down 0.2% at $1.214 .

The Bank of England raised interest rates by the most in 27 years on Thursday and warned that a long recession was coming. read more

European government bond yields moved higher, with the benchmark 10-year German government bond up 4 basis points at 0.836% .

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