(For a Reuters live blog on U.S., UK and European stock markets, click LIVE/ or type LIVE/ in a news window.)
* U.S. jobs growth slowed in September
* All three indexes set for weekly gains
* Futures: Dow 0.03%, S&P 0.22%, Nasdaq 0.56% (Adds comment, details; updates prices)
By Devik Jain
Oct 8 (Reuters) – Wall Street was set to inch higher on Friday after data showed U.S. jobs grew far less than expected in September amid a decline in government payrolls, while technology stocks found support from lower bond yields.
The Labor Department’s closely watched nonfarm payrolls report showed hiring increased by 194,000 jobs last month, far less than the 500,000 jobs forecast by a Reuters poll of economists. While unemployment rate fell to 4.8% from 5.2% in August, average hourly earnings rose by a more-than-expected 0.6%.
“This weak number doesn’t push the Fed to need to taper any sooner. It might be December now versus November but it probably doesn’t rock the boat too much and tapering likely still takes place later this year,” said Ryan Detrick, chief market strategist at LPL Financial.
Fed Chair Jerome Powell has said it would take a reasonably good employment report” to meet the central bank’s threshold to start reducing its massive bond buying program as soon as November.”
The numbers follow better-than-expected private jobs data and weekly jobless claims report, while a temporary reprieve after U.S. Senate agreed to raise the federal government’s $28.4 trillion debt limit set the three major U.S. indexes for weekly gains.
At 09:00 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 11 points, or 0.03%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 9.75 points, or 0.22%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 83.25 points, or 0.56%.
Uncertainty over the debt ceiling negotiations and a run-up in U.S. Treasury yields over elevated inflation were major concerns among investors, injecting volatility in equity markets this week.
High-growth stocks Apple Inc, Google-parent Alphabet, Amazon.com Inc and Tesla edged up, boosting Nasdaq futures.
Energy firms including Chevron Corp and Exxon Mobil Corp gained about 0.3%, tracking crude prices, while major U.S. lenders slipped as the benchmark 10-year yield eased after the jobs data.
Conagra Brands Inc fell 1.6% as JP Morgan downgraded the stock to “neutral” from “overweight”, a day after the diversified food maker flagged price increases to cushion inflation impact and raised sales forecast. (Reporting by Devik Jain in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Bansari Mayur Kamdar and Anisha Sircar, Editing by Maju Samuel)