Here is what you need to know.
It’s jobs day. The February non-farm payrolls report will cross the wires at 8:30 a.m. ET. The Bloomberg consensus is expecting the US economy to have added 195,000 jobs during the month as the unemployment rate held at 4.9%. Additionally, average hourly earnings are expected to have increased by 2.5% on a year-over-year basis.
Gold’s in a bull market. Gold is trading higher by $15 at $1273 per ounce, and is now at its best level since January 2015. Friday’s gain has the yellow metal up 21% from its December low, and in its first bull market since 2013.
Money is pouring into junk bonds. The FT says data from Lipper Funds shows $5 billion poured into high yield debt in the week up to March 2, the most in a 7-day stretch since record keeping began in 1992. The rush into the space has pushed junk bond yields down to 8.73% after hitting a high of 10.1% in the middle of February.
Smith & Wesson had a blockbuster quarter. The gun manufacturer announced earnings of $0.59 per share, blowing away the $0.41 that was expected by the Bloomberg consensus. Revenue surged 61.4% to $210.8 million, which was well ahead of the $179 million that Wall Street was anticipating. CEO James Debney said Smith & Wesson’s “product sell-through at distribution was much stronger than we had anticipated…” The company upped its full year revenue guidance to between $712 million and $717 million, up from between $650 million and $660 million.
Moody’s downgraded BHP Billiton. BHP Billiton’s debt rating was cut to A3 from A1 at Moody’s, AFP reports. The rating agency says the downgrade was the result of weak commodity prices and softer demand “representing a fundamental shift in the operating environment beyond a normal cyclical downturn.” Friday’s downgrade comes a month after rival Standard & Poors lowered its credit rating for the miner.
AMC is the world’s largest movie theatre chain. The Chinese movie theatre giant announced its buying Carmike Cinemas for $30 per share, or $1.1 billion. The deal will give AMC nearly 8,400 screens worldwide with more than 600 in the United States, according to AFP. AMC CEO Adam Aron says the deal allows his company to “extend the reach of our innovative, guest-experience strategies to further transform the movie-going experience for millions of new guests.” Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin bought AMC in 2012 for $2.6 billion.
Snapchat raised more cash. The picture messaging app raised $175 million from Fidelity Investments in February. According to the Wall Street Journal, the latest cash haul gives Snapchat a $16 billion valuation, unchanged from last year. Fidelity’s purchase at $30.72 per share was the same price it paid a year ago.
Global stock markets are higher. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng (+1.2%) led the advance in Asia and Germany’s DAX (+0.8%) paces the gains in Europe. S&P 500 futures are up 2.50 points at 1993.00.
Earnings reporting is light. Big Lots and Staples are among the names releasing their quarterly results ahead of the opening bell.
There’s one piece of data aside from the jobs report. The trade balance will also be released at 8:30 a.m. ET. The US 10-year yield is unchanged at 1.83%.