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U.S. stock futures drop ahead of jobs data as gloomy China trade report adds to global growth fears – MarketWatch


U.S. stock futures fell on Friday, pointing to a fifth session of losses for Wall Street, after a slump in Chinese exports piled onto concerns about slowing global growth.

Investors are also braced for U.S. jobs data due later.

How did major indexes fare?

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures

YMH9, -0.25%

 fell 79 points, or 0.3%, to 25,425, while S&P 500 futures

ESH9, -0.30%

 were down 9.35 points, or 0.4%, to 2,745.5 and Nasdaq-100

NQH9, -0.43%

 futures dropped 35 points, or 0.5%, to 7,021.

On Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average

DJIA, -0.78%

 fell 200.23 points, or 0.8%, to 25,473.23. The S&P 500 index

SPX, -0.81%

dropped 0.8% to 2,748.93 and the Nasdaq Composite Index

COMP, -1.13%

 shed 1.1%, to 7,421.46.

With one session left, the Nasdaq is facing a 2.2% drop for the week, while the Dow industrials and S&P 500 are off around 2% each.

What’s driving the market?

Tumbling 4.4%, Chinese stocks logged their worst one-day percentage drop since October on Friday, after the nation reported a 20% drop in February exports on the heels of a 9.1% gain in January. Officials attributed the plunge to sagging demand and some distortions from the Lunar New Year holiday. But economists said that even adding those two months together, the data looked weak.

And China’s biggest brokerage, Citic Securities, hit People’s Insurance Group of China

601319, -9.98%

 with a rare sell rating, citing concerns over valuations, according to Reuters. Those shares slid 4% in Hong Kong, after falling as much as 10% at one point.

China’s news adds to global growth concerns, with investors still reeling from a more dovish-than-expected European Central Bank, which announced new measures to support a slowing economy on Thursday. That included fresh long-term loans to European financial institutions and a surprise pledge to hold off on any interest-rate increases until at least the end of the year.

Read: Why the ECB’s surprise policy moves sent a shiver through global stock markets

Other data on Friday showed German manufacturing orders fell sharply in January, though December data was revised upward.

Investors are also bracing for U.S. jobs data Friday, with February nonfarm payrolls due at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time, alongside the unemployment rate and average hourly earnings. Economists polled by MarketWatch are forecasting the creation of 178,000 new jobs, and a downward revision for January’s 304,000 spike.

And uncertainty was lingering over a U.S.-China trade deal. A New York Times report on Thursday said the two sides had reached a broad agreement, but Chinese officials are reportedly concerned about the final terms of any deal.

How did other markets trade?

Asian stocks closed lower across the board, led by that big loss for the Shanghai Composite

SHCOMP, -4.40%

 and a 2% drop for the Nikkei 225

NIK, -2.01%

Investors sought shelter in perceived safe haven assets such as the Japanese yen

USDJPY, -0.46%

 , which weighed on the U.S. dollar

DXY, -0.18%

Gold prices

GCJ9, +0.72%

 also benefited.


CLJ9, -1.32%

prices fell along with equities.

European stocks tracked global equities lower, with the Stoxx Europe 600 index

SXXP, -0.51%

falling 0.5%.

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