Stocks Mixed Ahead of Jobs Report, Tech’s Lag Continues, Bitcoin Dip Deepens—and What Else Is Happening in the Stock Market Today

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Friday’s key jobs report has the potential to shift investor sentiment—in either direction.

Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

Stocks were rising Friday as investor attention focused on the key U.S. jobs report later in the day, which has the potential to shift sentiment at the end of a turbulent week in the market.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average indicated an open 50 points or 0.1% higher, after the index fell 170 points Thursday to close at 36,236. The S&P 500 was on track to start similarly higher. Futures for the Nasdaq —which has taken a beating this week amid a tech stock rout—signaled an open just above flat to continue underperforming the other major indexes.

Overseas, London’s FTSE 100 rose 0.1% as British traders tread water ahead of the U.S. data release, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index surged 1.8% amid optimism among investors that China would prioritize a stable economy.

After a turbulent week of trading that has hit tech stocks the hardest, all eyes will be on Friday’s U.S. jobs report, which includes the key nonfarm payrolls figure. Expectations are for around 422,000 jobs to have been added in December, and a number well above or far below estimates has the potential to shift sentiment.

“We are likely to need a number lower than 250k, or higher than 550k, to drive a Fed risk-on, or risk-off, move to finish the week,” said Jeffrey Halley, an analyst at broker Oanda.

In commodities, crude continued to rise as threats to production from unrest in Libya and Kazakhstan supported prices. Futures contracts for international oil benchmark Brent were up 1% to near $83 a barrel, with U.S. futures for West Texas Intermediate crude similarly up to near $80.50. Brent started the week at $78.

“Oil’s price action is bullish, as it shrugged off a series of seemingly bearish news inputs over the last 48 hours. That news swung the other way overnight, with domestic protests disrupting local production,” noted Halley.

Cryptocurrencies continued to lag behind, furthering losses from a slump this week. Bitcoin, the leading digital asset, was down 0.5% to below $42,500, according to data from CoinDesk, having started the week around $47,000. Smaller peer Ether fell 2%, remaining above $3,200, declining from above $3,800 Monday.

Write to Jack Denton at jack.denton@dowjones.com