December 7, 2018 / 2:13 PM / 8 days ago

US STOCKS-Futures cut losses as jobs data eases rate hikes fears

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* U.S. nonfarm payrolls rise less than expected in November

* Futures: Dow up 0.04 pct, S&P flat, Nasdaq down 0.16 pct (Adds comments, updates prices)

By Shreyashi Sanyal

Dec 7 (Reuters) - U.S. stock futures recovered from slight losses to trade flat on Friday after data showed a slowdown in U.S. jobs growth in November, pointing to fewer future rises in interest rates.

The Labor Department’s report showed nonfarm payrolls increased by 155,000 jobs in November, lower than economists’ expectation of 200,000.

“The report is not soft enough to deter a December rate hike but it will contribute to a downward revision in central bankers’ policy guidance for rate hikes in 2019,” said Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic adviser at Allianz in Newport Beach, California.

“In terms of a snapshot for the economy, and while somewhat softer than consensus expectations, this is a solid November jobs report that goes counter to talk of recession.”

Wall Street has been weighed down this year by worries ranging from China-U.S. trade tensions to climbing U.S. bond yields and peaking corporate profits, all of which have fanned concerns about economic growth.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, however, said late Thursday that the U.S. economy continued to expand and emphasized the strength of the labor market.

The markets closed slightly lower on Thursday, pulling back from a tumble after the arrest of the finance chief of Chinese telecom equipment maker Huawei Technologies Ltd raised fears that the move could escalate a trade war between the United States and China.

The early selloff on Thursday saw more than 1,300 NYSE and Nasdaq stocks hitting new 52-week lows - the highest since January 2016.

At 8:58 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 11 points, or 0.04 percent. S&P 500 e-minis were down 0.25 points, or 0.01 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 10.75 points, or 0.16 percent. (Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Jennifer Ablan; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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