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04 Mar 2021 | 12:32

US pre-open: All eyes on Fed's Powell, jobs data

(Sharecast News) - US equities futures are pointing to a lower start ahead of remarks from US central bank boss Jerome Powell later in the day which some will undoubtedly hope will help to soothe frayed nerves in government bond markets. Ahead of Powell's speech at 1605 GMT at an event hosted by the Wall Street Journal, futures on the Dow Jones Industrials were trading down 42 point to 31,194.0, alongside a 26.0 point drop on those tracking the Nasdaq-100 to 12,655.75.

In parallel, the yield on the benchmark 10-year US Treasury note was slipping by two basis points to 1.46%.

"The US bond market tantrum returned last night, not a full-blown one, mind you, just enough for the baby to throw a few of its toys out of the pram," said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst in Asia Pacific for Oanda.

Not lost on Halley was the February US non-farm payrolls report which was scheduled for release the next day.

The analyst believed a print "well North" of 200,000 jobs was most likely but pointed out that "What should be a bullish indicator for equities is likely to be negative in current market conditions, as bond yields will likely squeeze higher."

On the economic calendar for Thursday, initial weekly jobless claims figures and unit labour cost data for the fourth quarter were both due out at 1330 GMT.

Ahead of the opening bell, consultancy Challenger reported a 57% drop in the number of job cut announcements by US-based companies in February to reach 34,351 - the lowest level since December 2019.

On the corporate side of things, shares of Apple were down 0.3% following reports of a probe by the UK's Competition and Markets Authority into the tech giant app store.
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