Pre-open movers

U.S. stock futures traded mostly flat in early pre-market trade. Data on nonfarm payrolls and unemployment rate for the latest week will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET, while data on wholesale trade inventories for January will be released at 10:00 a.m. ET. Chicago Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Evans is set to speak in a live interview at 8:40 a.m. ET and 10:45 a.m. ET. Charles Evans will speak in New York at 12:45 p.m. ET.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 8 points to 24,929.00, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index futures were flat at 2,744.25. Futures for the Nasdaq 100 index rose 2.75 points to 7,003.00.

Oil prices traded higher as Brent crude futures rose 0.88 percent to trade at $64.17 per barrel, while US WTI crude futures gained 0.75 percent to trade at $60.57 a barrel. The Baker Hughes North American rig count report for the latest week is schedule for release at 1:00 p.m. ET.

A Peek Into Global Markets

European markets were mostly higher today, with the Spanish Ibex Index falling 0.09 percent, STOXX Europe 600 Index gaining 0.09 percent and German DAX 30 index dropping 0.30 percent. The UK’s FTSE index was trading higher by 0.01 percent, while French CAC 40 Index rose 0.13 percent.

In Asian markets, Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average rose 0.47 percent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index gained 1.11 percent, China’s Shanghai Composite Index climbed 0.57 percent and India’s BSE Sensex slipped 0.13 percent.

Broker Recommendation

Analysts at Keefe Bruyette & Woods downgraded XL Group Ltd. XL from Outperform to Market Perform.

XL Group shares rose 0.09 percent to close at $55.80 on Thursday.

Breaking news

  • Big Lots, Inc. BIGreported better-than-expected earnings for its fourth quarter, while sales missed estimates. The company also issued weak earnings forecast for the current quarter.
  • Finisar CorporationFNSR reported downbeat results for its third quarter. The company also issued weak guidance.
  • United Natural Foods, Inc. UNFIreported stronger-than-expected earnings for its second quarter and also raised its FY18 guidance.
  • El Pollo LoCo Holdings IncLOCO posted better-than-expected earnings for its fourth quarter.