Stock futures ticked up Wednesday evening, with traders looking ahead to a deluge of data on the labor market Thursday and Friday. Earlier, the three major indexes ended the regular session just a tick above the flat line.
Stocks have been in a holding pattern this week ahead of key economic data releases. On Thursday, ADP will release its closely watched report on private payroll changes for May, which is expected to show another 650,000 jobs came back last month on top of the 742,000 added back in April. And the Labor Department’s report on new weekly unemployment claims is expected to show new filings broke below 400,000 for the first time since March 2020, with fewer individuals becoming newly unemployed as more areas of the economy reopen.
Both reports will set the stage for the Labor Department’s May jobs report out Friday morning, which will be instrumental in determining the strength of the economic recovery and suggesting whether the Federal Reserve might soon be due to taper its crisis-era asset purchase program. April’s sharply disappointing jobs report – with a paltry 266,000 jobs added back while 1 million had been expected – served as fuel for the Fed to stay on hold with current policies. But this stance could be undercut by a marked improvement in data, some pundits noted.