Stock Market Today: Stocks higher, Meta soars, jobs data on deck

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U.S. equity futures moved higher Friday, putting the major indices on pace for a positive week, as investors picked through the details of a trio of Magnificent 7 tech earnings and braced for what could be a crucial January jobs report. 

Meta Platforms  (META) – Get Free Report shares were the standout performer from last night’s earnings parade, posting better-than-expected fourth quarter profits, issuing a robust near-term outlook and declaring its first-ever dividend as CEO Mark Zuckerberg transitions the social media giant from its ‘year of efficiency’ to AI-fueled growth. 

Meta shares were marked 17.3% higher in pre-market trading and set to open at an all-time high of $462.80 each and a market value of around $1.19 billion.

Amazon  (AMZN) – Get Free Report were also flying higher, rising 6.1% in pre-market dealing after the online retailing powerhouse showed that AI was able to drive big gains for its AWS cloud division, as well as firmer profit margins, while setting up the group for a solid first quarter.

Apple  (AAPL) – Get Free Report shares, however, were marked nearly 3% lower in pre-market after the group posted stronger-than-expected fiscal first quarter earnings that were marred by lighter iPhone revenues and a big drop in overall sales in China.

The last of the Magnificent 7 posted December quarter earnings last night, with Meta the standout performer of the market’s tech giants. 

The three stocks, which represent just over 12% of the S&P 500’s total market weight, are likely to dictate much of the benchmark’s early Friday gains, although the January jobs report is also expected to provide a large measure of activity to close out the week. 

Economists expect that the U.S. added around 185,000 new jobs last month, a modest decline from the 216,000 pace recorded in December but still largely in-line with the average gains from the past six months.

Bond investors are likely to pay close attention to the wage data found within the Labor Department report, with estimates suggest a downtick in average hourly earnings that could have important implication for inflation and Fed rate forecasts over the coming months.

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Benchmark 10-year Treasury bond yields were trading a multi-week low of 3.884% heading into the early Friday session, pushed lower by a series of weaker-than-expected employment data releases and softening inflation prospects, while 2-year notes were pegged at 4.231%.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six global currencies, was marked 0.05% lower in overnight dealing at 102.995.

Heading into the start of trading on Wall Street, futures contracts tied to the S&P 500 are indicating a 28 point opening bell gain while those tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average suggest a more modest 15 point gain.

The tech-focused Nasdaq, meanwhile, is likely to rise by around 175 points thanks to the outsized gain for Meta and stronger starts for Amazon and chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices  (AMD) – Get Free Report.

In overseas markets, last night’s firmer close on Wall Street flowed through into Asia trading, with the MSCI ex-Japan benchmark rising 0.22% into the close of trading while the Nikkei 224 ended 0.41% higher in Tokyo.

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 was marked 0.61% higher in early Frankfurt trading while Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.27% in London.

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