Wall St set to rise as weak jobs growth eases aggressive taper concerns

Wall Street’s main indexes were set to open higher on Friday after weaker-than-expected growth in U.S. jobs eased some concerns about the Federal Reserve’s quicker tightening of monetary policy.

Nonfarm payrolls increased by 210,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department said in its closely watched employment report, while unemployment rate dropped to 4.2%, the lowest since February 2020, and wages increased further.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast payrolls advancing by 550,000 jobs.

“The (payrolls) numbers are obviously a big disappointment and the market is up because the market is now anticipating the Fed can’t be so quick,” Thomas Hayes.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell said earlier this week that the U.S. central bank will consider at its upcoming meeting a faster wind-down to its bond-buying program, a move widely seen as opening the door to earlier interest rate hikes.

Equity markets flitted between gains and losses all week as investors digested updates on the newly detected Omicron coronavirus variant, which is spreading globally and causing many countries to reimpose travel restrictions.

The main three indexes are on course for weekly losses, with Wall Street’s fear gauge, the CBOE Market Volatility index, spiking above 30 for the first in ten months earlier this week.

“We had a very volatile week and I see that back-and-forth environment staying somewhat at equilibrium, as we get more news on either side of the impact of Fed policy decisions, as well as more information on the Omicron variant,” said Brian Vendig.

November reading on ISM non-manufacturing PMI report is also scheduled after markets open.

At 8:56 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 120 points, or 0.35%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 19.25 points, or 0.42%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 77 points, or 0.48%.

Meanwhile, the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate passed a bill to fund the government through mid-February, averting the risk of a shutdown.

Ulta Beauty jumped 4.6% after the beauty retailer raised annual sales and profit forecasts.

Nucor Corp rose 3.0% after the steel products maker increased its quarterly dividend by 23% and announced a $4 billion buyback program.

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