Futures for U.S. markets were flat late Thursday as investors anxiously await non-farm payrolls and unemployment data Friday after suffering disappointment in the lower-than-expected private sector payroll info released Thursday.
The Dow Jones Industrials were up just 0.01% at 9:38 p.m. EST with the S&P 500 flat and Nasdaq up 0.02%.
Investors are letting some of the wind out of the Trump rally's sails as they wait for the president-elect to show his leadership following the inauguration Jan. 20. Economic data remains strong, but investors are expecting unemployment to increase slowly and are steeling themselves for an even bigger increase.
The worries pushed the S&P off 0.08% Thursday with the Dow down 0.21% Thursday. Nasdaq gained 0.2% as the whirlwind around the CES electronics show in Las Vegas supported tech shares. The negative U.S. sentiment weighed on Europe, leaving bourses there largely flat Thursday with Germany's Dax up a scant 0.1%, the Cac in Paris 0.03% and the FTSE in London 0.08%.
Asia opened mixed for the final trading day of the week after the president-elect singled out automaker Toyota Motor for its plans to build a Mexican plant to build cars for the U.S. market--Trump threatened the Camry and Corolla maker with a "big border tax" on Twitter. The Nikkei in Japan lost 0.4% and the ASX in Australia 0.02% while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 0.44% and the Kospi in South Korea 0.44% at 10:07 p.m. EST.
In oil, a barrel of industry standard Brent crude traded 2 cents lower, to $56.87, at 10 p.m. EST while West Texas crude changed hands for $53.73, a 3 cent drop. The prices represent futures for delivery in March and February, respectively.
The dollar index, which compares the currency to a number of other currencies, gained 0.08%, to 101.60, at 10:03 p.m. EST, still off its recent high of 103.80.
In after-hours trade, Gap(GPS) - Get Report shares shot up 8.56%, to $25.24, after the clothing retailer surprised investors with an upbeat holiday earnings report, counteracting downbeat reports from peers Macy's (M) - Get Report and Kohl's (KSS) - Get Report .
The San Francisco retailer said same-store sales last month rose 4% vs. a 5% decline a year ago.
The results were driven by a 1% same-store-sales increase at Gap and a 12% uptick at the company's Old Navy brand. Banana Republic saw a 7% decline in same-store sales.
Total sales for the company rose 3% year-over-year to $2.07 billion for the month.