By Lorcan Roche Kelly
The Labor Department will deliver the last jobs report of the 2010s at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time this morning. It is forecast to show employers added 160,000 positions in December, well down from November’s surprise 266,000 but pretty much bang on the average for the past ten years. Unemployment is expected to hold at 3.5% and the annual pace of wage gains to remain at 3.1%.
Western governments say they have intelligence showing that a missile shot down the Boeing Co. 737-800 passenger jet that crashed in Iran on Wednesday. Authorities in Tehran have called on those governments to produce proof, with the head of the country’s civil aviation organization saying Iran is certain that the flight wasn’t shot down. While shares in Boeing rose yesterday as it seemed less likely that a technical fault caused the disaster, the problems with the grounded 737 Max came back to the fore with the release of internal company messages that described the plane as “designed by clowns, who in turn are supervised by monkeys.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi looks ready to drop her resistance to starting President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial though she has yet to secure major concessions from Senate Republicans. Yesterday she said she would “soon” send the two articles of impeachment to the Senate, which some lawmakers took to mean within the coming days amid increasing frustration on both sides over the delay. Also in Washington yesterday the House voted to curb President Donald Trump’s power to strike Iran in a mostly symbolic move that is unlikely to make it through the Senate.
After a busy week, global equities are much calmer this morning as investors await the U.S. jobs number. Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 0.5% while Japan’s Topix index closed 0.4% higher. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index had gained 0.1% by 5:50 a.m. with Ryanair results lifting the travel sector. S&P 500 pre-payrolls futures pointed to another higher open, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 1.856% and gold continued its slide.
Today is also jobs day in Canada, with economists forecasting 25,000 new positions after November’s surprise drop of over 70,000. The final reading of November wholesale inventories is published at 10:00 a.m. At midday the U.S. Department of Agriculture releases its latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates. The Baker Hughes rigcount is at 1:00 p.m.