Stock futures drop amid Russia-Ukraine conflict, investors await job data

Stock futures headed to a lower open on Friday morning as investors awaited a key update on the labor market recovery and continued to monitor the global economic fallout from the Russian war in Ukraine.

Contracts on the S&P 500 retreated to extend the declines from Thursday. Treasury yields fell further as traders piled into safe havens including bonds and gold, and the benchmark 10-year yield fell below 1.8%. The tone of risk came Friday morning amid news of Russia’s seizure of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant in Ukraine, after Russian bombing earlier set the facility on fire.

A fresh batch of economic data due to be released on Friday morning is expected to assure investors that the US economy has recovered enough to allow monetary policy makers to ease crisis-era support. The Labor Department’s February jobs report is expected to show the 14th consecutive month of salary gains, as jobs rose more than 400,000 and the unemployment rate fell to 3.9% – the lowest level since February 2020 before the pandemic. Like this result The private payroll data reflects much better-than-expected data released by the ADP earlier this week.

Indeed, Federal Reserve officials have declared victory in fulfilling the economy’s hiring mandate. Testifying before Congress this week, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said most members of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) would agree that the US labor market is now at a level consistent with maximum employment.

Even before the February jobs report, Powell said he would support a 25 basis point rate hike at the Fed’s March meeting, quelling speculation that the central bank might go ahead with a more aggressive 50 basis point hike to jump-start its efforts to cut inflation. But the ongoing rate increases have left open the question of how aggressively the Fed will tighten monetary policy over the rest of the year.

Inflation fears have only exacerbated with crude oil prices hovering at multi-year highs, with WTI and Brent crude prices up more than 40% year-to-date and settling at over $100 a barrel. But for monetary policy makers, these concerns had to be weighed Against the uncertainty now generated by the crisis in Ukraine.

“Recent action over the past week, given the combination of the situation between Russia and Ukraine as well as persistent footprints of inflation, has lowered expectations within the market to approximately five highs, and possibly lower,” Matt Kichlansky, GenTrust Wealth Management owner, said. Yahoo Finance Live said. “So I think the Fed needs to signal in that sense that they think that’s where they’re really going to be.”

7:22 a.m. ET: Stocks head to the lower opening

Here’s where the stock traded on Friday morning:

6:13PM ET Thursday: Stock futures up

Here are the main moves in the markets on Thursday evening:

  • S&P 500 futures contracts (ES = F.): +6.5 points (+0.15%) to 4,365.75

  • Dow futures contractsYM = F.): +54 points (+0.16%) to 33792.00

  • Nasdaq futures contractsNQ = F.): +31.25 points (+0.22%) to 14,061.75

A trader works at the New York Stock Exchange in New York, US, February 28, 2022. US stocks closed mixed on Monday as investors looked for updates regarding the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 166.15 points, or 0.49 percent, to 33,892.60.  The Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 10.71 points, or 0.24 percent, to 4,373.94 points.  The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 56.78 points, or 0.41 percent, to 13,751.40 points.  (Ali Joseph / NYSE / Bulletin via Xinhua)

A trader works at the New York Stock Exchange in New York, US, February 28, 2022. US stocks closed mixed on Monday as investors looked for updates regarding the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 166.15 points, or 0.49 percent, to 33,892.60. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 10.71 points, or 0.24 percent, to 4,373.94 points. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 56.78 points, or 0.41 percent, to 13,751.40 points. (Ali Joseph / NYSE / Bulletin via Xinhua)

Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter

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