JOBS DAY — What you need to know in markets on Friday

Markets Reporter
Yahoo Finance

To cap a busy week for markets, the January jobs report is expected out in the morning.

Economists expect the U.S. economy added 180,000 in the first month of 2018, a projected increase after a somewhat disappointing 148,000 jobs were added in December. The unemployment rate is expected to hold at 4.1%.

On the earnings side, notable results expected in the morning include Clorox (CLX), Chevron (CVX), and Merck (MRK). Other economic data expected out on Friday include the January consumer sentiment reading from the University of Michigan as well as factory orders for December.

Construction crews work on a section of Interstate 20 West that buckled in Decatur, Ga., Monday, April 17, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Construction crews work on a section of Interstate 20 West that buckled in Decatur, Ga., Monday, April 17, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Markets will also still be taking stock of big tech earnings out after the bell on Thursday, with Google parent company Alphabet (GOOGL) dropping after results while Amazon (AMZN) shares were up more than 6% in after hours trade.

Alphabet earnings missed on both the top and bottom lines, sending shares of the search giant lower. The company also announced that John Hennessey, former president of Stanford University, will replace Eric Schmidt as chairman of the board.

Apple (AAPL) shares were off about 1% in after hours trade after the company reported fewer-than-expected iPhone sales in its holiday quarter. Apple also cut revenue guidance for its current quarter. The company did, however, highlight strength from its new $1,000 iPhone X, which it said was its best-selling phone each week after its early November launch.

Amazon, meanwhile, crushed analyst estimates for the fourth quarter and said it “far exceeded” expectations for its Alexa unit, with CEO Jeff Bezos saying in a statement that investors should expect the company to “double down” on its voice assistant in the coming quarters.

January jobs report preview

In 2017, the U.S. economy added more than 2 million jobs for the sixth-straight year.

And the start of 2018 is expected to be another strong month for the labor market.

“Many, but not all, of the recent signals on the labor market have looked upbeat,” writes Daniel Silver, an economist at JP Morgan. Silver points to recent readings on private payrolls from ADP, The Conference Board, as well as initial jobless claims, as signs of a solid labor market.

“We take these as signs that the BLS’s employment data will also be strong, and it is likely that mild winter temperatures during the reference week for the January BLS report were a favorable factor for the monthly employment count,” Silver writes. “We look for only modest growth in earnings in January despite a number of states raising minimum wages—while these increases could put upward pressure on earnings in January, we believe they will only have minor effects on the national data.”

Economists expect average hourly earnings rose 2.6% over the prior year in January, an expected improvement from December but not a sign of a major pickup in wages that could precipitate a surge in inflation pressures across the economy. Silver expects nonfarm payrolls grew by 200,000 in January with the unemployment rate falling to 4%.

Ellen Zentner and the team at Morgan Stanley are also forecasting an above-consensus 195,000 jobs were added to the economy in January and expect the unemployment rate fell to 4%. “We expect payroll gains to be broad-based across all industries in the January report,” Zentner writes. “Gains in construction and manufacturing jobs have been strong in recent months, and we look for the double-digit monthly growth in these categories to continue.”

Myles Udland is a writer at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @MylesUdland

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