Market Snapshot: Stock-index futures point higher ahead of October jobs report, manufacturing data

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Stock-index futures signaled a slightly higher start for Wall Street on Friday as investors awaited the October jobs report and an influential gauge of manufacturing activity.

What are major indexes doing?

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average YMZ19, +0.21% rose 56 points, or 0.2%, to 27,038, while S&P 500 futures ESZ19, +0.23%  rose 6.95 points, or 0.2%, to 3,042.75. Nasdaq-100 futures NQZ19, +0.28%  were up 23 points, or 0.3%, at 8,113.25.

The Dow DJIA, -0.52%  on Thursday gave up 140.46 points, or 0.5%, to end at 27,046.23, while the S&P 500 SPX, -0.30%  finished with a decline of 9.21 points, or 0.3%, at 3,037.56. The Nasdaq Composite COMP, -0.14%  closed at 8,292.36, a loss of 11.62 points, or 0.1%.

October was a positive month for stocks, with the S&P 500 notching a record close on Wednesday. The Dow hung on for a 0.5% monthly gain, while the S&P saw a 2% advance and the Nasdaq rose by 3.7%.

Read: Dow and S&P 500 are set to rise at least another 5% in the next 2 months — if this pattern holds

What’s driving the market?

Jobs data, set for release at 8:30 a.m. Eastern, will be in the spotlight, but a six-week strike at General Motors is likely to skew the numbers. Economists polled by MarketWatch, on average, look for the U.S. economy to have added just 75,000 jobs in October, down from a lackluster 136,000 in September.

See: U.S. October jobs report is likely to be a big dud, but not because the labor market is tanking

The latest survey-based take on the U.S. manufacturing sector will also be in focus. The Institute for Supply Management’s October manufacturing index due at 10 a.m. Eastern is expected to bounce back to 49% from 47.8% in September. A reading below 50% indicates a contraction in activity.

The S&P 500 ended at a record on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve delivered a widely expected rate cut but also signaled it would pause before making any further moves.

“With Fed Chair Jerome Powell estimating that risks to the U.S. economy have subsided, investors will be holding policy makers to their data-dependent stance with greater fervor,” said Han Tan, market analyst at FXTM, in a note. “A sudden deterioration in economic conditions could yet prompt the FOMC to resume its policy easing, even though Powell insisted this week that U.S. monetary policy is in a ‘good place,’ having already made three consecutive 25-basis-point cuts to U.S. interest rates this year.”

A firmer tone for global equities was also tied to a private gauge of manufacturing activity in China, which showed an expansion for a third straight month in October.

The Caixin China manufacturing purchasing managers index rose to a 32-month high of 51.7 last month from 51.4 in September. That’s in contrast to China’s official manufacturing PMI released on Thursday, which fell to an eight-month low of 49.3 in October.

What companies are in focus?

Bringing the busiest week for corporate earnings to a close, results were due ahead of the opening bell from heavyweights, including Exxon Mobil Corp. XOM, -0.22%, Chevron Corp. CVX, -0.19%  and drugmaker AbbVie Inc. ABBV, -0.14%.

See: Chip-equipment companies suggest a recovery is on the way

Newell Brands Inc. NWL, -1.30%  saw shares up 2.4% in premarket action after it reported third-quarter profit and sales that topped expectations, while also raising the full-year outlook for both.

Shares of Pinterest Inc. PINS, -3.01%  fell more than 20% in premarket action, set to build on a hit it took after millions of shares became available for trade. Even after adjusting for share-based compensation related to its initial public offering, Pinterest still missed analyst earning estimates late Thursday.

Car-rental company Avis Budget Group Inc. CAR, -1.49%  shares fell 12% in premarket after posting a drop in adjusted third-quarter profit that came in well below market expectations.