Today's jobs report is one of the more important ones for investors, as it will not only address recession fears but will signal upcoming policy cues for the Fed. Economists have forecast nonfarm payrolls to bounce back by 175,000 in March, after a shockingly low 20,000 last month, meaning February was just a sputter during a long stretch of job gains. Hopes for a solid number were boosted by jobless claims data, which fell to a 49-year low last week. Also being eyed are average hourly wages, which likely rose 0.3%, and an unemployment rate that's expected to hold steady at 3.8%.
U.S. stock index futures are ahead by 0.2%, while Shanghai closed up 0.9% overnight, as investors cheered developments in U.S.-China trade talks. On Thursday, President Trump said that swift progress had been made, adding "we'll know over the next four weeks" whether a deal can be reached. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, meanwhile, said a new consensus had been reached by both countries on the text of a trade agreement, according to official state news agency Xinhua.
Backing away from a threat to immediately shut the southern border, President Trump instead outlined a 25% tariff on cars as a possible tool he could use to force Mexico to halt illegal immigration and drugs. "We're going to give them a one-year warning," he told reporters. Asked if his comments suggested the border will remain open for at least a year, Trump responded: "No, I didn't say that... We would start with the tariffs and we'll see what happens."
"With the release of the preliminary report of the Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 accident investigation it’s apparent that in both flights the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, known as MCAS, activated in response to erroneous angle of attack information," Boeing (NYSE:BA) CEO Dennis Muilenburg said in a statement. However, an update will "add additional layers of protection and will prevent erroneous data from causing MCAS activation. Flight crews will always have the ability to override MCAS and manually control the airplane."
A flurry of Brexit news is in the making as both the EU and the U.K. move to lengthen the current timetable for negotiations. First, European Council President Donald Tusk proposed allowing the U.K. a 12-month "flexible" extension to leave the EU, according to the BBC. Later this morning, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May asked the EU for another short extension to June 30, which could be terminated early if a deal is agreed to by the two sides.
Weighed down by fading memory chip demand and rising smartphone competition, Samsung Electronics (OTC:SSNLF) expects to post a 60% decline in Q1 operating profit. A figure of 6.2T South Korean won ($5.5B) would put it on track for its weakest quarterly profit since late 2016, when the firm issued a costly global recall of Galaxy Note 7 handsets that overheated. Samsung reports final results later this month.
Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos will retain voting control of his entire $143B stake in the company under a divorce settlement with his wife, MacKenzie Bezos, who will own 25% of those shares. That's unless she donates them to a nonprofit or sells them in the open market. Jeff Bezos is seen as essential to Amazon's meteoric growth and stock price rise since he founded the company as an online bookseller in 1994.
Snap (NYSE:SNAP) announced a new ad-supported gaming platform at its Partner Summit on Thursday, following recent moves into the market by other tech companies. However, the company's business model - called Snap Games - stands in contrast to Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL), which will be based on a subscription. Players will be able to jump into games directly from Snapchat, and the offering will include monetization opportunities for Snap and its partners.
It was an anti-climactic end in a Manhattan courtroom where Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) CEO Elon Musk faced off again with the SEC over his tweeting and contempt of court charges. "My call to action is for everyone to take a deep breath, put your reasonableness pants on and work this out," Judge Nathan told both parties, instructing them to come back in two weeks with a resolution. The hearing appeared to lift an overhang over Tesla, as the SEC stopped well short of recommending Musk's removal as CEO or even from the EV maker's board.
Carlos Ghosn will be held in jail until at least April 14 without possibility of bail, according to a Tokyo court. Prosecutors re-arrested the former Nissan (OTCPK:NSANY) and Renault (OTCPK:RNLSY) boss yesterday on suspicion he had tried to enrich himself to the tune of $5M at Nissan's expense. Ghosn's lawyer is appealing the decision, though it might be tougher to be granted bail a second time and may come with even more stringent conditions.
What else is happening...
'Jobless Claims: What Highs?' writes contributor Bespoke Investment Group.
Saudis threaten to ditch dollar oil trades to stop 'NOPEC.'
In Asia, Japan +0.4%. Hong Kong -0.2%. China +0.9%. India +0.5%.
In Europe, at midday, London +0.2%. Paris +0.2%. Frankfurt -0.1%.
Futures at 6:20, Dow +0.2%. S&P +0.2%. Nasdaq +0.2%. Crude flat at $62.09. Gold steady at $1294.10. Bitcoin -0.6% to $4959.
Ten-year Treasury Yield +2 bps to 2.53
Companies reporting earnings today »
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