By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch
Switch, Costco among stocks to watch
Wall Street equities were poised to trade near record levels at the open Friday, with U.S. stock-index futures mixed as investors waited for an important update on U.S. jobs growth.
What stock benchmarks are doing
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures slipped 8 points to 22,732, while S&P 500 futures eased 0.9 point to 2,549. Nasdaq-100 futures were up 3.75 points to 6,069.50.
Boosted by news of a budget resolution passing Congress , the Dow Jones Industrial Average on Thursday rose 0.5% to finish at 22,775.39, for its 46th record close of the year. The S&P 500 gained 0.6% to end at 2,552.07, its sixth straight record close and its 43rd such finish this year. The Nasdaq Composite Index closed 0.8% higher at 6,585.36.
For the week through Thursday, the Dow industrials were looking at a gain of 1.65%. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite were each on track for rises of around 1.3%.
Opinion:The next bear market gets closer every time stocks hit a record
What could drive markets?
The government's monthly reading on nonfarm payrolls and other labor data is due Friday. Economists polled by MarketWatch forecast jobs growth of 75,000 in September, compared with 156,000 in August. The unemployment rate is expected to come in unchanged at 4.4%, with average hourly earnings seen rising 0.3%.
The low jobs growth is being blamed on the effect of superstorms in Texas and Florida, the states with the second-highest and fourth-highest numbers of working Americans. September is expected to break an 83-month streak of rising payrolls in the U.S.
A reading on wholesale inventories for August is due at 10 a.m. Eastern, followed by a report on consumer credit for the same month at 3 p.m. Eastern.
Investors will also hear from another bunch of Federal Reserve officials:
-- Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic, at a Fed workforce conference in Austin at 9 a.m. Eastern.
-- Dallas Fed President Rob Kaplan, at a discussion at the same event at 12:45 p.m. Eastern.
-- New York Fed President William Dudley, speaking on monetary policy at the Council for Economic Education at 12:15 p.m. Eastern.
-- St. Louis Fed President James Bullard, speaking on the standard of living at a development conference in St. Louis at 1:50 p.m. Eastern.
What do strategists say?
-- "Patrick Harker of the Federal Reserve stated the U.S. central bank is still penciling in a rate hike in December, and today's data could give us a clue as to what they will do next. Traders will be paying close attention to the wage data in the announcement as it hasn't been as impressive as the unemployment rate." -- David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets U.K., in a note.
"Traders are confident of a strong Q4 after seeing that the recent US data keeps pointing towards more growth and with little risk currently on the horizon stocks are hitting fresh highs. If today's NFPs print in a positive -- or at least less negative -- manner, then equity traders will continue looking for opportunities." -- Konstantinos Anthis, ADS Securities research, in a note.
Which stocks are in focus?
Data-center operator Switch Inc. priced its initial public offering higher than expected Thursday evening. The Las Vegas-based data-center company said it would sell 31.25 million shares at $17 apiece, after previously stating a target range of $14 to $16. Shares are due to begin trading Friday on the New York Stock Exchange.
Costco Wholesale Corp.(>> Costco Wholesale Corporation) shares fell 2.8% in premarket. The wholesale retailer reported results that topped Wall Street estimates for the quarter, but shares fell 1% after the close of regular trading Thursday.
Yum China Holdings Inc.(>> Yum China Holdings Inc) jumped 2.6% the Yum Brands Inc. (>> Yum! Brands, Inc.) spinoff announced earnings that included its first dividend and an increased stock-buyback plan . The operator of KFC and Pizza Hut restaurants also announced plans for a new chief executive officer.
What other assets are doing
European stocks traded mostly lower , with Spain's IBEX benchmark giving back some of Thursday's rebound as investors assessed the latest developments in the Catalonia-Spain standoff.
Australian stocks led gains in Asia on Friday, boosted by Thursday's climb in commodity prices and rises for financial stocks.
WTI oil futures are under pressure as Tropical Storm Nate strengthens, and is due to hit the Gulf Coast over the weekend . The ICE U.S. Dollar Index rose. Under pressure, the British pound was set for its worst week in a year on talk of an early U.K. election . Gold futures slipped.