Markets flat ahead of delayed U.S. jobs report

Oct 22, 2013, 6:14 AM EDT
REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

LONDON (AP) — Financial markets were steady Tuesday ahead of the next round of U.S. corporate and economic news that includes the delayed nonfarm payrolls data for September.

Because of the partial shutdown of the U.S. government, the payrolls figures weren't published on the first Friday of the month as they usually are. Now that the government is functioning and the U.S. debt ceiling has been raised, investors have a lot of back-data to digest that could have a bearing on when the Federal Reserve decides to reduce its $85 billion worth of monthly financial asset purchases.

U.S. employers are forecast to have added 180,000 jobs, up from 169,000 in August. The unemployment rate is expected to remain at 7.3 percent, which will support arguments in favor of the Fed continuing its super easy monetary policy.

However, analysts said the September data are unlikely to have their normal market-moving impact given that they won't fully take into account the cost of this month's stalemate in Washington, which many expect to dent economic growth.

"I guess the good news is that with payrolls being announced it will make it feel like a Friday," joked Gary Jenkins, managing director of Swordfish Research.

In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was up 0.1 percent at 6,660 while Germany's DAX fell 0.1 percent to 8.856. The CAC-40 in France was 0.2 percent lower at 4,270.

Wall Street was poised for a flat opening, with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures unchanged.

Of perhaps more interest to investors than the payrolls figures will be the next batch of third quarter corporate earnings. Around 30 percent of the companies listed on the S&P are due to release numbers this week. On tap Tuesday are Delta Airlines, DuPont and United Technologies.

Earlier in Asia, the mood was subdued, too. Japan's Nikkei 225 stock average closed up 0.1 percent at 14,713.25 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 0.4 percent to 5,373.10. Seoul's Kospi gained 0.2 percent to 2,056.12. Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.5 percent to 23,315.99 and China's Shanghai Composite Index was off 0.8 percent at 2,210.65.

Among currencies, the euro was flat at $1.3667 while the dollar rose 0.2 percent to 98.34 yen.

In the oil markets, a barrel of benchmark New York crude was down 36 cents at $99.33. Oil closed below $100 a barrel Monday for the first time since early July as U.S. supplies keep rising and the risks of disruption to Middle East shipments subside.