* Futures: Dow down 7 pts, S&P up 1.5 pts, Nasdaq up 3 pts
By Yashaswini Swamynathan
May 5 U.S. stock index futures were flat on
Friday, with investors on the sidelines ahead of a crucial
monthly jobs report that could influence the chances of an
interest rate hike next month.
* Shares of IBM tumbled 3 percent premarket after
Warren Buffett said he had sold about a third of his stake in
the company. The stock was the biggest loser among the Dow and
S&P companies trading before the bell.
* Investors are hoping for a rebound in jobs growth in
April, after a sharp slowdown in March, that could pave the way
for the Federal Reserve to raise rates in June.
* The report from the Labor Department, due at 8:30 a.m. ET
(1230 GMT), is expected to show 185,000 jobs were added last
month, compared with an underwhelming gain of 98,000 in March.
* Traders have priced in 70 percent odds of the Fed raising
rates in June, after the central bank earlier this week
downplayed weak first-quarter economic growth and emphasized the
strength of the labor market.
* Despite concerns over economic growth, U.S. companies have
generally handed in better-than-expected earnings reports for
* Overall profits for S&P 500 companies are estimated to
have risen 14.8 percent in the first quarter, according to
Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. That is higher than the 10.1 percent
growth rate estimated at the start of the earnings season.
* Wall Street ended flat on Thursday as a steep fall in oil
prices countered some solid earnings reports.
* Oil prices are trading near five-month lows, triggering
demand for safe-haven assets. Gold is likely to remain in favor
ahead of the final round of the French presidential election on
* Zynga jumped nearly 11 percent to $3.14 after the
creator of FarmVille gave a strong current-quarter bookings
* VWR Corp slipped 4.4 percent to $32.55 after a
private equity firm said it would buy the lab supplies company
at a discount to its Thursday's close.
Futures snapshot at 6:59 a.m. ET:
* Dow e-minis were down 7 points, or 0.03 percent,
with 15,791 contracts changing hands.
* S&P 500 e-minis were up 1.5 points, or 0.06
percent, with 78,359 contracts traded.
* Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 3 points, or 0.05
percent, on volume of 15,463 contracts.
(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by