Before the release of the September jobs report, U.S. stock index futures experienced a slight increase early on Friday.

What’s happening

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500, and Nasdaq Composite all experienced slight declines on Thursday. The Dow Jones dropped by 10 points (or 0.03%) to 33,120, the S&P 500 declined by 6 points (or 0.13%) to 4,258, and the Nasdaq Composite fell by 16 points (or 0.12%) to 13,220.

What’s driving markets

The September U.S. employment data will be released at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time. Economists predict that there will be an increase of 170,000 jobs and an unemployment rate of 3.7%. This report is significant as it is the final one before the Federal Reserve makes its next decision regarding interest rates on November 1st.

Henry Allen, a strategist at Deutsche Bank, stated that today’s reading is crucial in determining whether another rate hike is still a possibility, as the pricing for it has been fluctuating between above and below 50% (currently at 38% this morning).

Labor market data has caused significant fluctuations in the stock market this week. Initially, the market decreased dramatically upon the release of a report indicating an unexpected increase in job openings. However, it rebounded when a subsequent report revealed a decline in private sector payrolls from ADP. The market later calmed down again following another discouraging report on weekly jobless benefit claims.

In addition to the employment report, the Wall Street Journal has released news about Exxon Mobil potentially acquiring Pioneer Natural Resources for $60 billion. This information could impact the performance of energy stocks on Friday.

Single stock movers

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