Stocks set to fall at open as U.S.-China tensions simmer; July jobs report eyed


Trump bans transactions with Chinese-owned TikTok and WeChat

Wall Street looks poised to open in the red on Friday morning after President Donald Trump ramped up tensions with China by banning any U.S. transactions with Tencent, the Chinese company that owns messenger WeChat app, and with ByteDance, owner of video-sharing app TikTok, starting in 45 days.

“To protect our Nation, I took action to address the threat posed by one mobile application, TikTok. Further action is needed to address a similar threat posed by another mobile application, WeChat,” Trump said in an executive order signed on Thursday.

“This data collection threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information — potentially allowing China to track the locations of Federal employees and contractors, build dossiers of personal information for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage,” he added.

By 6:40 a.m. ET, the blue-chip Dow futures indicated a loss of 158.5 points, or 0.58% to 7,126.5. The S&P 500 futures dropped 17.63 points, or 0.53% to 3,326.62 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures were down 56.25 points, or 0.5% to 11,205.

July jobs report in focus

The Labor Department will release its payroll and unemployment data for July at 8:30 a.m. ET, offering a glimpse into the overall health of the U.S. economy and jobs market amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Economists forecast the new report will show that unemployment rose to 10.6% in April and that employers added 1.48 million non-farm payroll jobs. Average hourly earnings are expected to have fallen 0.5% compared to a drop of 1.2% in June.

The jobs report also comes on the heels of last week’s GDP data that showed the economy declined at a rate of 32.9% in the second quarter of 2020, the worst contraction in U.S. history.

Uber shares slide after posting bigger-than-expected loss

Meanwhile, shares in Uber (NYSE: UBER) fell in pre-market trading session Friday after the company reported a wider-than-expected Q2 loss, while revenue surpassed forecasts.

The ride-hailing giant, which has been hammered by the coronavirus pandemic, posted an adjusted loss of $1.02 per share and revenue of $2.24 billion after markets closed on Thursday.

On average, analysts surveyed by Refinitiv expected the company to report an adjusted loss of  86 cents per share on revenue of $2.18 billion.

As of this writing, the stock was down 3.49% to $33.50 a share in pre-market trading.