US pre-open: Futures mostly lower ahead of NFP reading
Wall Street futures had major indices opening mostly lower prior to the open on Friday as traders patiently await last month's non-farm payrolls report.
As of 1225 GMT, Dow Jones and S&P 500 futures had the indices opening 0.30% and 0.18% weaker, respectively, while Nasdaq-100 futures were up 0.05%.
The Dow closed 543.54 points lower on Thursday, extending losses recorded in the previous session.
Friday's primary focus will be on February's non-farm payrolls data at 1330 GMT, with economists expecting to see payrolls rising by 225,000 in the month - a marked slowdown from the prior month's unexpectedly large increase of 517,000. Unemployment rates were forecast to remain unchanged at 3.4%, a more than half a century low, and hourly wages were predicted to have increased 0.4% month-on-month.
Zaye Capital's Naeem Aslam said: "Today is the most important day for market players, as we will see the latest reading of the US NFP data. This economic reading commands the most attention among investors and traders, as the economic data set the trading tone for today and can influence it for the rest of the month. As always, the Fed will watch this data very closely, which is highly likely to affect their monetary policy, which will be announced on the 22nd of March."
Elsewhere on the macro front, February's monthly budget statement will be published at 1900 GMT.
No major corporate earnings were slated for release on Friday.
Reporting by Iain Gilbert at Sharecast.com