By Mark DeCambre and Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch
The U.S. lost 33,000 jobs in September: Labor Department
Wall Street equity benchmarks were poised to retreat slightly from records at the open Friday as the U.S. economy posted its first monthly decline in jobs in about seven years as job creation was slammed by a series of hurricanes in the Gulf Coast and Florida. However, stubbornly low wage growth came in better than expected.
What stock benchmarks are doing
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures slipped 34 points, or 0.2%, to 22,698, while S&P 500 futures eased 5.65 points, or 0.2%, at 2,544.25. Nasdaq-100 futures were down 21.75 points, or 0.4%, to 6,044.75
On Thursday, stock indexes got a jolt from news that the budget resolution passed 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, the Dow industrials were looking at a gain of 1.4%, as of Thursday's close. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite were each on track for rises of more than 1%.
Opinion:The next bear market gets closer every time stocks hit a record
What is driving markets?
The U.S. workforce shrank by 33,000 jobs in September, worst than average economists estimates, as employment was undercut by hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Economists polled by MarketWatch had predicted a 75,000 increase in nonfarm jobs. Estimates were all over the map because of uncertainty about the effects of the storms. The unemployment rate, which was not affected by the storms, fell to 4.2% from 4.4%.
The data were expected to be messy given the storms, breaking an 83-month streak of growth, but it isn't expected to dissuade the Federal Reserve from raising rates once more in December.
One bright spot, wages increased by 0.5% to an average of $26.55 an hour, the Labor Department said Friday. Hourly pay increased 2.9% from September 2016 to September 2017, up from 2.7%,. However, the gains may likely be inflated by hurricane effects.
Still, the 10-year Treasury note touched is highest yield since around July at 2.39% and the dollar strengthened somewhat . Sluggish inflation and wage growth has been a bugaboo for central bankers.
What other data and Fed speakers are ahead?
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 slate of Federal Reserve officials:
-- New York Fed President William Dudley, speaking on CNBC said he was open to raising rates in December. He is slated to speak on monetary policy at the Council for Economic Education at 12:15 p.m. Eastern.
-- 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.
-- St. Louis Fed President James Bullard is set to deliver a speech 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 . 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.