Traders look to U.S. jobs data for indications of when Fed may start tapering - InfoNews

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Traders look to U.S. jobs data for indications of when Fed may start tapering

The Toronto Stock Exchange Broadcast Centre is shown in Toronto on June 28, 2013.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Aaron Vincent Elkaim
December 06, 2013 - 5:19 AM

TORONTO - Employment data was front and centre Friday morning as traders hope that the U.S. employment report for November will shed some light on when the Federal Reserve starts cutting back a key stimulus measure.

Also, the Canadian dollar could find some movement when Statistics Canada releases its November jobs report before the market open. The loonie was down 0.08 of a cent to 93.9 cents US. Traders expect the economy cranked out about 12,000 jobs during the month.

Traders also took in the final earnings report from the big banks. Scotiabank (TSX:BNS) posted quarterly net income of $1.7 billion, up 12 per cent from a year ago. Scotiabank also says it earned $1.30 per share of net income in the fourth quarter, up from $1.18 a year earlier. Core earnings per share came in at $1.31 a share, a penny short of expectations.

U.S. futures were higher ahead of the 8:30 a.m. release of the non-farm employment report. Traders had been expecting job growth in the neighborhood of 183,000. But that consensus was arrived at before the release late this week of a strong report on private sector job creation from payroll firm ADP and falling numbers for people claiming jobless insurance.

The Dow Jones industrial futures gained 61 points to 15,878, the Nasdaq rose 15.2 points to 3,494 while the S&P 500 futures climbed 7.7 points to 1,791.7.

A solid jobs number would add to other data that came out this week showing an improving economy, including strong manufacturing and housing reports and stronger than expected third quarter economic growth.

But the worry is the Federal Reserve will start to cut back on its US$85 billion dollars of asset purchases, which have kept long term rates low and supported a strong stock market rally.

Markets are braced for such a move but hopes have been high that the Fed wouldn't move until March, when incoming chair Janet Yellen is settled in the job and the central bank would be more confident about steady improvement. But the string of positive data has raised concerns the central bank could act as soon its next meeting, Dec. 18.

Traders will also take in data on U.S. consumer spending and confidence during the morning.

On the commodity markets, the January crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange slipped six cents to US$97.32 a barrel.

March copper gained two cents to US$3.24 while December bullion declined $2.90 to US$1,229 an ounce.

European bourses were mixed as Germany’s central bank lifted its growth forecast for the country’s economy this year and next, pointing to healthy domestic demand as unemployment remains low.

The Bundesbank predicts that the economy, Europe’s biggest, will grow by 0.5 per cent this year and 1.7 per cent in 2014.

London's FTSE 100 index was up 0.25 per cent, Frankfurt's DAX gained 0.37 per cent and the Paris CAC 40 dipped 0.08 per cent.

Earlier in Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock average rose 0.8 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.1 per cent, China’s Shanghai Composite dropped 0.4 per cent and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.2 per cent.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2013
The Canadian Press

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