Stock futures were mostly flat in early trading Friday ahead of the November jobs report as the market nears the end of a roller-coaster week driven by Covid omicron variant developments.
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 12 points. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 also were barely in negative territory.
Stocks tied closely to the virus have led the market on its week-long seesaw, and that continued Friday. Companies that benefit from the economic expansion, such as hotels and airlines, led losers, while vaccine leader Moderna was among the biggest gainers, with its shares rising 3.4% in premarket trading.
The omicron variant has now been detected in five U.S. states, with symptoms so far reported as mild.
The November jobs report is set for release Friday morning. Investors expect to see solid job growth last month, with economists surveyed by Dow Jones predicting 573,000 jobs added in November and the unemployment rate slipping to 4.5%.
The three major indexes rebounded in Thursday’s regular trading session. The Dow gained 617 points. The S&P 500 rose 1.4% and the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.8%.
Cyclical names tied to the economic recovery made back some of their recent losses. Industrials led the S&P 500 sectors Thursday with a 2.89% gain.
Elsewhere in markets, Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi announced during Asia trading hours on Friday that it will start delisting from the New York Stock Exchange and make plans to list in Hong Kong instead. Shares rose 3.2% following the news.
On the data front Thursday, initial jobless claims totaled 222,000 for the week ended Nov. 27, lower than economists expected.
Despite Thursday’s rally, the averages are on pace for a losing week. The Dow and the Nasdaq Composite are each about 0.7% lower on the week, while the S&P 500 is down 0.4%.
“With rising cases of the virus, a less accommodative Fed, and tougher growth comps in the year ahead, the uncertainties around the outlook may simply be building — resulting in a more volatile environment for price discovery,” Goldman Sachs’ Chris Hussey said in a note.