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Market Outlook: Futures Rise Ahead of April Jobs Report

Stock futures are on the rise as investors gear up for the release of the April jobs report on Friday morning. This anticipation is fuelled by several key announcements and earnings reports in the extended trading session, setting the stage for potential market movements.

Futures linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average are up by 225 points, representing a 0.6% gain. Similarly, S&P 500 futures have climbed nearly 0.3%, while Nasdaq 100 futures show an advance of about 0.6%.

In after-hours trading, notable movements include Apple's impressive 6% surge following its announcement of a $110 billion share repurchase program and robust financial performance. Biotech giant Amgen has also seen a significant uptick of 14% after surpassing expectations in both earnings and revenue. On the flip side, Cloudflare experienced a 14% decline after providing a subdued revenue forecast for the full year.

Thursday saw gains across the board, with the S&P 500 rising by 0.91%, the Dow by 0.85%, and the Nasdaq Composite leading the pack with a 1.51% increase. However, despite this positive momentum, the major indexes are still poised to end the week in negative territory, with the S&P 500 down 0.7%, the Nasdaq down nearly 0.6%, and the Dow marginally lower by 0.04%.

Following the Federal Reserve's meeting earlier in the week, Chair Jerome Powell hinted at a cautious approach, suggesting that while rate hikes are improbable in the near term due to persistent inflation, rate cuts are not on the immediate horizon either. This balance between economic strength and inflation concerns sets a favourable backdrop for equities, according to Sonu Varghese, global macro strategist at Carson Group.

As attention turns to Friday's nonfarm payrolls report, economists are projecting the addition of 240,000 jobs in April, reflecting a slight slowdown from the previous month. Wage growth, another crucial metric, is expected to show a 4% year-over-year increase, while the unemployment rate is forecasted to remain steady at 3.8%.

Steve Halls, founder of NexxtGen Markets, comments, "The market is reacting to a mix of earnings results and anticipation of the jobs report. Despite the week's fluctuations, there's cautious optimism fuelled by economic resilience. As always, it's crucial for investors to remain vigilant and consider the broader economic landscape."

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