Investing.com -- It's payrolls day. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is expected to announce another slowdown in hiring amid increasing signs of trouble in the U.S. economy, reflected not least in HP's announcement of up to 9,000 job cuts last night. Stocks are edging down ahead the report. Meanwhile, Hong Kong inches closer to martial law and the U.K. continues to circle the Brexit drain. Here's what you need to know in financial markets on Friday, 4th October.
1. Payrolls report to confirm slowdown?
Happy payrolls day! The monthly employment report at 8:30 AM ET (1230 GMT) will attract even more attention than usual today, in the wake of some dismal data this week that has led the market to completely reprice the chance of further interest rate cuts from the Federal Reserve.
The headline number in nonfarm job creation is expected to tick up to 140,000 from 130,000 last month, while average hourly earnings growth is expected to stay at a healthy 3.2%. Average weekly hours are also expected to stay unchanged at 34.4 hours.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is due to speak at 2 PM ET, potentially fleshing out the consequences of the payrolls figures for future policy. According to Investing.com’s Fed Rate Monitor Tool, the implied probability of another 25 basis-point cut at this month’s policy meeting has risen to over 90% from just under 55% a week ago.
2. Stocks set for lower opening
U.S. stock markets are playing defense ahead of the big payrolls announcement. By 6 AM ET, all three major index futures were down 0.4%, after making recoveries of varying strength on Thursday.
After the close on Thursday, HP (NYSE:HPQ) had announced it will cut up to 9,000 jobs to shore up profitability, and will also expand its buyback program and raise its dividend to keep shareholders sweet.
Elsewhere, BP (LON: BP (LON:BP)) confirmed that CEO Bob Dudley, who stabilized the company after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, will retire. He’ll be succeeded by BP’s current head of upstream operations, Bernard Looney.
3. Hong Kong invokes emergency powers; business confidence falls
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam invoked a colonial-era emergency powers law to crack down on protesters who have campaigned against her and her proposed legislation for the last four months.
Lam said she will make it illegal to wear face masks, a move which dramatically expands the scope for arresting protesters, given that hundreds of thousands have adopted this tactic to avoid facial recognition by the authorities.
Hong Kong’s stock index fell 1.5%, although that was also due partly to local business confidence hitting its lowest in seven and a half years, in keeping with results from similar surveys from around the world this week.
4. An iPhone boom?
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is to increase the production of its iPhone 11 model by some 10%, according to the Japanese newspaper Nikkei, signalling increased confidence in demand following the company’s decision to cut the phone’s price.
The company didn’t comment on the report, but CEO Tim Cook told the French newspaper Les Echos that he saw a big upgrade cycle in the smartphone sector approaching.
The news has lifted the stocks of Apple's suppliers in Asia and Europe Friday, with AAC Technologies Holdings Inc (HK:2018) rising 3.2% in Hong Kong and German chipmaker Infineon Technologies (DE:IFXGn) rising 1.0% while Ams AG (SIX:AMS) rose 1.9%.
5. Still heading for a Hard Brexit
The European Union gave the U.K. a week to improve its latest proposals on how to manage the thorny problem of the Irish border after Brexit.
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s latest initiative was roundly dismissed by both the EU Commission and parliament, and by various member states on Thursday – not least by Ireland, whose economy and security would be most directly affected by a disorderly Brexit.
The British pound has stabilized at around $1.2340 in Friday morning trading in Europe, while the U.K. FTSE 100 was up 0.1%.