Here are the most important news items that investors need to start their trading day:
1. Can stocks stay on a winning streak?
The S&P 500 has posted gains for four straight trading days heading into Friday’s session, offering investors glimmers of hope that equities could be rebounding in earnest after the worst first half for stocks in more than five decades. Futures were largely flat before Friday’s session, as traders anticipated the June jobs report, scheduled to be released at 8:30 a.m. ET.
2. Jobs report in focus
Observers expect a strong employment report for June, even as the U.S. contends with surging prices and a potential recession. Economists expect the data to show that the economy added about 250,000 jobs last month, according to Dow Jones. That would be below the May print of 390,000, but still considered robust. “I think there’s been some concerns about a slowdown in consumer spending and the housing sector, but that’s not showing up yet in the labor market,” said Aditya Bhave, a senior economist at Bank of America.
3. Assassination in Japan
A shocking development out of Japan: Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shot dead at a campaign event for the Liberal Democratic Party in the city of Nara, which is near Kyoto. Abe, 67, was Japan’s longest-serving prime minister and was known for his “Abenomics” stimulus policies and statesmanship. He stepped down two years ago due to declining health. A suspect was reportedly in custody. There was no apparent indication of motive as of Friday morning.
4. GameStop shakeup
A day after announcing a stock split, GameStop, the videogame retailer chaired by activist investor Ryan Cohen, threw another curveball at investors. The company fired CFO Mike Recupero and announced layoffs as it pursues a turnaround plan. Cohen himself pushed Recupero out, a source told CNBC, because “he was not the right culture fit” and was “too hands off.” Shares of the meme stock fell in off-hours trading.
5. Levi raises dividend
Shares of blue jean behemoth Levi Strauss jumped after the company raised its dividend and announced quarterly results that topped Wall Street’s expectations. One big reason? More relaxed dress codes at the workplace, as people trickle back to their desks while Covid restrictions ease. “Jeans are now much more acceptable in the office,” CEO Chip Bergh told CNBC.
-CNBC’s Carmen Reinicke, Patti Domm, Arjun Kharpal, Melissa Repko, Lauren Thomas and Ian Krietzberg contributed to this report.