Market Snapshot: U.S. stock futures rise ahead of payrolls data as new quarter kicks off

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U.S. stock futures pushed higher on the first day of second quarter on Friday, as investors waited for important jobs data and monitored developments surrounding the ongoing war in Ukraine.

How are stock-index futures trading?
  • S&P 500 futures
    ES00,
    +0.49%

    rose 0.3% to 4,547

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average futures
    YM00,
    +0.50%

    gained 0.3%, or 94 points, to 34,712

  • Nasdaq-100 futures
    NQ00,
    +0.50%

    rose 0.3% to 41,919

On Thursday, the Dow
DJIA,
-1.56%

snapped a four-day win streak, tumbling 550.46 points, for a 1.6% decline. The S&P 500
SPX,
-1.57%

saw a similar fall, while the Nasdaq Composite
COMP,
-1.54%

fell 1.5%.

For March, the Dow rose 2.3%, the S&P 500 climbed 3.6% and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 3.4%, according to Dow Jones Market Data. All three benchmarks logged the biggest percentage drops declines since the first quarter of 2020 — 4.6%, 4.9% and 9.1%, respectively.

Read: A dozen S&P 500 stocks just had their worst quarter ever, as tech stocks sloughed off nearly $2 trillion in value

What’s driving the markets?

Stocks were set to shake off the worst quarter in two years with gains on Friday, as investors settled in to wait for nonfarm payrolls data.

Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal are forecasting a total payroll gain of 490,000 jobs in March, and a drop in the unemployment rate to 3.7% from 3.8%. Job growth totaled 678,000 in February. The data will be released at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time, followed by the Institute for Supply Management manufacturing index and construction spending, both for March at 10 a.m.

Investors will also hear from Chicago Federal Reserve President Charles Evans at 9:05 a.m. Eastern.

Analysts blamed a late-day stock selloff Thursday on worries over bond yields, even as oil prices fell sharply as the U.S. announced its largest-ever release from the nation’s crude reserves. Oil prices
CL00,
+0.43%

BRN00,
+0.63%

were down about 1% on Friday.

The yield curve continued to teeter on the brink of inversion again on Friday, two days after the spread between 10-year
TMUBMUSD10Y,
2.411%

and 2-year notes 
TMUBMUSD02Y,
2.399%

briefly fell below zero. To many economists, such an inversion can flag a potential recession. Yields on the 10 and 2-year notes were each up 1 basis point, to 2.419% and 2.391%, respectively.

Investors also kept close watch on the war in Ukraine, with negotiators from both sides expected to hold negotiations via videoconference on Friday. Russia blocked a humanitarian aid convoy from reaching embattled Mariupol, as eastern Ukraine braced for more attacks.

What companies are in focus?
  • Shares of GameStop Corp.
    GME,
    -0.16%

    surged 15% in premarket trading after the after the company said it was looking to conduct a stock split for the first time in 15 years.

Read: AMC, GME and meme stocks are back in the spotlight — How will professional traders handle it this time around?