Wall Street was poised to open lower again, with futures for the benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 index falling 0.4% and that for the Dow Jones Industrial Average declining the same 0.4%. U.S. markets were hit this week by surveys showing weakness in manufacturing and the U.S. services industry, but investors seem hopeful that the U.S. Federal Reserve will cut rates again to shore up economic activity.
The outlook for that could depend on the September jobs due later Friday from the Labor Department. It is expected to show employers added 145,000 jobs last month, up from 130,00 in August, according to analysts polled by FactSet.
In midday trading, London’s FTSE 100 gained 0.4% to 7,107 and France’s CAC 40 rose 0.2% to 5,448. German markets fell early then recovered after a report showed orders for German machinery plummeted in August, adding to signs of a recession in Europe’s biggest economy. The DAX was close to flat in midday trading at 11,917.
In Asia, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 added 0.3% to 21,410.20 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng tumbled 1.1% to 25,821.03. Seoul’s Kospi fell 0.5% to 2,020.69 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 added 0.4% to 6,521.10. India’s Sensex retreated 0.9% to 37,766.22 after the central bank cut its benchmark interest rate by a quarter percentage point to 5.15%, citing slowing growth.
On Wall Street, investors have been wrestling with uncertainty about the economy and the impact of a U.S.-Chinese tariff war. Adding to their unease Thursday, the Institute for Supply Management, an association of purchasing managers, said its non-manufacturing index sank to 52.6 from 56.4 in August. Readings above 50 signal growth, but September’s figures are the lowest since August 2016.
Services account for more than two-thirds of the U.S. economy and have been resilient in the face of the tariff war that is squeezing manufacturers. The Fed has lowered rates by a quarter-percentage point twice this year in a bid to shield the economy from slowing growth abroad and the effects of the trade war. Investors put the odds the Fed will cut rates again at the end of this month at above 88%, according to the CME Group.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 9 cents to $52.54 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract lost 19 cents on Thursday to close at $52.45. Brent crude, used to price international oils, advanced 38 cents to $58.09 per barrel in London. It gained 2 cents the previous session to $57.71.
CURRENCY: The dollar declined to 106.68 yen from Thursday’s 106.91 yen. The euro gained to $1.0989 from $1.0965.
Matt Ott in Washington contributed to this report.