U.S. stock index futures edged lower on Friday ahead of data that will likely show that the labor market remained strong, bolstering the case for another outsized interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve later this month.
The Labor Department’s closely watched employment report, due at 08:30 a.m. ET, is expected to show nonfarm payrolls increased by 300,000 jobs last month after surging 528,000 in July. Wages likely grew consistently and unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.5%.
While such a number could bolster expectations that the U.S. economy is on a strong footing, it adds pressure on the Fed to cool down labor demand and the overall economy to bring inflation back to its 2% target.
Money markets are pricing in a 75% chance of a third straight 75 basis points increase in rates at the U.S. central bank’s Sept. 20-21 policy meeting.
Fears of aggressive policy tightening have gripped Wall Street recently, with the S&P 500 sliding nearly 5.6% in the last five sessions in the wake of a unanimous hawkish view by policymakers on rate hikes.
All the three main indexes are set for a third straight weekly loss, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq down 2.9%.
At 06:54 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 18 points, or 0.06%, S&P 500 e-minis were down 4.75 points, or 0.12%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 38.75 points, or 0.32%.
Marathon Oil rose 2.7%, leading gains among the energy stocks as oil prices climbed more than $2 per barrel ahead of OPEC+ meeting.