Futures slightly lower before jobs data By Reuters

By Medha Singh

(Reuters) – U.S. stock futures edged lower, on Friday, as investors awaited the monthly jobs data, which could offer clues on the Federal Reserve’s move on interest rates.

Nonfarm payrolls data from the Labor Department is likely to show an increase by 160,000 jobs last month after rising by only 75,000 in May, according to a Reuters survey of economists. The data is due at 8:30 a.m ET (1230 GMT).

The likely rebound in U.S. job growth and expectations of a pick up in wage gains would probably not be enough to discourage the Fed from cutting interest rates this month amid growing evidence the economy is slowing.

A spate of weak economic data on Wednesday raised hopes of an interest rate cut and helped the Wall Street’s main indexes clinch record closing highs.

“It appears that, unless the report shows a radically lower figure – as happened in May – markets could accept a broadly solid jobs report as confirmation that the July FOMC meeting will result in only 25 basis point of easing,” Chris Turner, global head of strategy at ING, said.

Traders fully expect the U.S. central bank to lower borrowing costs by at least a quarter point at its policy meeting on July 30-31 and also see a 23% chance of a 50-basis-point reduction.

A protracted U.S.-China trade war is also seen as a reason behind the Fed’s dovish stance, although a trade truce reached between the United States and China and their return to talks last week have tempered bets of a half-point cut.

At 6:52 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis () were down 35 points, or 0.13%. S&P 500 e-minis () were down 4.75 points, or 0.16% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis () were down 15 points, or 0.19%.

Trading volumes could be thin at the end of holiday-shortened week as markets were shut on Thursday for Independence Day holiday.

Among stocks, Qualcomm Inc (O:) fell 2.9% in premarket trade, with Intel Corp (O:) and Advanced Micro Devices Inc (O:) also trading lower, after Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (KS:) forecast a steep plunge in its second-quarter operating profit due to a supply glut and rising tariffs hitting global demand for electronics.

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