Stock futures open higher ahead of jobs report, market holiday

Stock futures rose Thursday evening after a record-setting day on Wall Street, with traders looking ahead to the Labor Department’s March jobs report Friday morning. 

Regular U.S. stock trading will not take place on Friday in observance of the Good Friday holiday, and equity futures trading will close in the morning. 

Contracts on the S&P 500 edged higher after the index closed above 4,000 for the first time ever on Thursday. Technology stocks led the advances, and the Nasdaq outperformed with a gain of 1.8% during the session.

“What’s happening is, markets are pricing for perfection right now. And when I say perfection, perfection in the sense that we’re going to have a smooth reopening of the economy and that we’re going to continue to have vaccinations go smoothly and that we’re not going to have any hiccups,” Kevin Nicholson, RiverFront Investment Group global fixed income co-chief investment officer, told Yahoo Finance. “But I think that first-quarter earnings are going to be good, and it’s setting up that there’s momentum that’s going into the second quarter.

Despite the recent rotation into cyclical and value stocks, with small caps as well as the energy, financial and industrial sectors outperforming for the year-to-date, Big Tech stocks were in fact the biggest contributor to the blue-chip index’s latest milestone. According to an analysis from S&P Dow Jones Indices, Apple (AAPL), Microsoft (MSFT), Amazon (AMZN), Facebook (FB) and Alphabet (GOOGL) contributed 43.8% of the latest 1,000-point gain in the S&P 500. And Thursday’s tech-led session could be a “harbinger” of leadership trends to come in the stock market, according to Chris Konstantinos, RiverFront chief investment strategist.

“I think Q2 is going to be driven more by corporate earnings and a little bit less by some sort of positive mean reversion in valuation multiples off deep cyclicals,” Konstantinos told Yahoo Finance. “So what we’re recommending is a barbell of secular growth stories and some value and cyclical plays, but not going whole-hog into the [cyclicals] because we believe a big part of that move has already happened.” 

On Friday, investors will eye the Labor Department’s March jobs report, in what is expected to be the latest positive data point tracking the economic recovery. Consensus economists expect to see the greatest number of payrolls added back since October at 650,000. The jobless rate likely edged lower by 0.2 percentage points to a new pandemic-era low of 6.0%. 

6:00 p.m. ET Thursday: Stock futures tick up as overnight session begins 

Here’s where markets were trading Thursday evening.

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 4,013.5, +3.5 points, or +0.9% 

  • Dow futures (YM=F): 33,040.00, +3 points or 0.01% 

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 13,328.50, +12.5 points or 0.09% 

A person walks past the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) at Wall Street on November 16, 2020 in New York City. – Wall Street stocks rose early following upbeat news on a coronavirus vaccine and merger announcements in the banking and retail industries. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @emily_mcck

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