Stocks wobbled on Friday, looking vulnerable to giving up gains after snapping a four-day losing streak on Thursday, with key economic data looming in the day ahead.
Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 10 points, or less than 0.1%, after the index advanced 145 points to close at 31,656 on Thursday, notching the first day of gains since last Friday. S&P 500 futures pointed to a flat start with the tech stock-heavy Nasdaq poised to rise 0.1%.
The U.S. jobs report for August likely will be a key catalyst Friday for market sentiment after investors largely got a breather on Thursday following days of losses. Like the Dow, the S&P 500 reversed a multi-day slide in the previous session. But tech stocks were not so fortunate, with the Nasdaq recording five day of losses—the longest streak of declines since February 2022.
Dominating the market narrative have been worries over red-hot inflation and the Federal Reserve’s response to it. The central bank has been aggressively tightening financial conditions by boosting interest rates but also raising worries over the possibility of a recession. The Fed’s shift to fight rising prices already has knocked stocks this year, and the latest leg down for equities came in the wake of a speech from Fed Chairman Jerome Powell last week that suggested the central bank was committed to staying the course.
“The U.S. jobs report could also be a negative catalyst later in the session if it’s deemed strong enough to warrant more aggressive tightening from the Fed,” said Craig Erlam, an analyst at broker Oanda. “We’ve seen a lot more risk aversion in the markets recently as Fed commentary has finally gotten through to investors.”
Write to Jack Denton at firstname.lastname@example.org