NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures fell sharply on Friday after a weaker-than-expected March employment report, in thin trading that nonetheless suggests a weak open for stocks on Monday.
The jobs report, showing the economy's weakest job growth in more than a year, follows a string of underwhelming reports on the health of the U.S. economy that suggests softening in growth after a strong finish to 2014.
"With regards to the economy, a poor jobs report, while a surprise relative to consensus, is not a surprise given the weak economic data prints we've seen of late," said Dan Greenhaus, chief strategist at BTIG in New York, in a note.
The reaction indicates a lower open for the market when it resumes trading Monday, as regular U.S. stock markets are closed for Good Friday.
Futures trading was open for an abbreviated 45-minute session following the release of the U.S. employment figures, and volume was thin, with just 95,000 contracts traded, compared with an average daily trade of 1.45 million contracts over the past 200 days.
S&P 500 e-mini futures were down 19.75 points, or nearly 1 percent, indicating a lower open on Monday. Dow Jones industrial average e-mini futures fell 165 points and Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures lost 43.75 points.
On Thursday, the equity market rebounded from two days of losses. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 65.06 points, or 0.37 percent, to 17,763.24, the S&P 500 gained 7.27 points, or 0.35 percent, to 2,066.96, and the Nasdaq Composite added 6.71 points, or 0.14 percent, to 4,886.94.
Reporting By David Gaffen; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama