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U.S. futures higher ahead of job data

Mike Yamamoto (mike.yamamoto@optionmonster.com)

U.S. equity futures are up sharply ahead of this morning's key unemployment report.

S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures are up more than 0.8 percent at the time of this writing after statements by central banks in Europe spurred a global equities rally yesterday. The key will be whether the indexes will hold onto those gains after the non-farm payrolls at 8:30 a.m. ET. Consensus estimates call for a gain of 166,000 jobs.

The dollar is up against most other major currencies, including the euro and the Japanese yen. That has pressured precious metals, with gold and silver down about 1 percent and 2 percent respectively, while copper futures are also down about 2 percent. Oil is up about 0.5 percent on reports that the Egyptian military has declared a state of emergency in the Suez Canal.

Regular U.S. trading was closed for the July 4 holiday, but U.S. stock futures spiked higher yesterday after newly installed Bank of England Governor Mark Carney indicated in a surprise statement that record-low U.K. interest rates would continue for some time. European Central Bank Mario Draghi followed with similar comments two hours later.

The remarks triggered a strong rally in Europe yesterday, where major equity indexes shot up by 2 percent to 3 percent. Asian indexes responded in kind overnight, as Japan's Nikkei and Hong Kong's Hang Seng both up about 2 percent, also boosted by signs that China's credit crunch continues to ease.

This morning's European futures are mixed. The U.K. FTSE 100 is up more than 0.3 percent, but Germany's DAX is down 0.5 percent and France's CAC 40 is off fractionally.

Yesterday's rallies persisted despite ongoing violence in Egypt after the removal of President Mohammed Morsi and continuing concerns over instability in Portugal, where two cabinet-level ministers have resigned. If the markets can sustain today's momentum in the face of such volatile issues, it could be an important signal at a crucial technical juncture.

The SPX has been range-bound since reaching all-time highs in early May and has faced resistance at its 50-day moving average, indicating that momentum has slowed for the time being. However, the benchmark index has been closing above its 10-day moving average this week, which could be a good sign for the bulls.

In addition, earnings season begins on Monday with Alcoa releasing second-quarter results after the close. Potentially market-moving economic reports follow throughout the week, including a monetary statement by the Bank of Japan on Tuesday and minutes from the Federal Reserve on Wednesday.

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