(Reuters) – U.S. stock indexes firmed on Friday after a three-day pullback for the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq, as investors looked to data that is likely to show accelerated jobs growth in February.
The crucial nonfarm payrolls report is expected to show the U.S. economy benefited from falling new COVID-19 cases, quickening vaccination rates and additional pandemic relief money from the government.
However, the report will also be a reminder that the recovery in the labor market is excruciatingly slow. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on Thursday maintained the central bank’s dovish stance to support maximum employment and said inflation was not a worry at the moment.
His comments disappointed investors who expected him to act on the recent spike in the U.S. 10-year Treasury yield that has set the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq on course for their third straight weekly decline.
Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yields shot back above 1.5% mark, closing in on its highest level since mid-February last year.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq on Thursday slipped into negative territory on the year, ending just short of 10% from its Feb. 12 intraday record high that would confirm a correction.
At 6:38 a.m. ET, Dow E-minis were up 87 points, or 0.28%, S&P 500 E-minis were up 10.25 points, or 0.27% and Nasdaq 100 E-minis were up 23.25 points, or 0.19%.
Investors are also keeping an eye on progress in President Joe Biden’s a $1.9 trillion coronavirus aid bill with a sharply divided U.S. Senate expected to begin a contentious debate on Friday on the legislature.
In a bright spot were energy companies including Chevron Corp and Exxon Mobil Corp which firmed about 2% each as oil prices jumped to a near 14-month high.
Shares of Broadcom Inc fell about 2.6% after the company reported chip sales slightly below analysts’ estimates, joining a growing list of chip industry peers hit by a global semiconductor shortage.
Costco Wholesale Corp dropped 1.6% after the warehouse club operator missed estimates for second-quarter profit.
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