Stock futures fall on global growth concerns; jobs data awaited

March 8, 2019

By Medha Singh

(Reuters) – U.S. stock futures slipped on Friday on global growth worries after Chinese data showed exports tumbled the most in three years, while investors turned their focus to domestic monthly employment report.

China’s exports in February fell 20.7 percent from a year earlier compared to a 4.8 percent drop expected by economists polled by Reuters, pointing to a further slowdown in the economy and stirring talk of a “trade recession”.

The bleak China trade data overnight added to worries of a slowing global economy, after European Central Bank’s cut growth forecasts and unveiled a new round of stimulus, which led the U.S. stocks to record their fourth day of declines.

Adding to investor nerves was a comment from U.S. ambassador to China that the two sides have yet to set a date for a summit to resolve their trade dispute as neither side feels an agreement is imminent, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Tariff sensitive Boeing Co fell 0.9 percent before the bell and Caterpillar Inc edged 0.6 percent lower, while chipmakers, which derive a large chunk of their revenue from China, also dropped.

Nvidia Corp, Advanced Micro Devices Inc and Micron Technology Inc fell about 1 percent each.

The heavyweight FAANG group of stocks were also among early losers, with Facebook Inc, Inc, Apple Inc, Netflix Inc and Alphabet Inc down between 0.7 percent and 0.9 percent.

In the spotlight is the Labor Department’s data expected at 8:30 a.m. ET, which is likely to show U.S. job growth slowed to a five-month low in February.

Nonfarm payrolls is expected to rise 180,000 last month from a 304,000 increase in January.

At 7:20 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 113 points, or 0.44 percent. S&P 500 e-minis were down 11.75 points, or 0.43 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 37.5 points, or 0.53 percent.

In a relatively slow week for markets, Wall Street’s main indexes are eyeing their fifth day of declines and are on pace for their steepest weekly fall in at least two months after starting the year on a strong note.

The S&P 500 closed below a closely watched 200-day moving average level in the previous session for the first time in about a month.

In corporate news, Costco Wholesale Corp jumped 4.7 percent after the warehouse club operator’s quarterly profit trumped estimates as margin pressures eased.

A separate report from the Commerce Department is expected to show permits for future home construction fell to 1,289,000 units in January, down from 1,326,000 units in December.

(Reporting by Medha Singh and Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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