Dow futures lower as markets await key jobs data

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U.S. stock index futures pointed to a slightly mixed open on Friday as investors focused on the release of key jobs data.

At 03:33 a.m. ET, Dow futures were down 11 points, implying a muted open. Futures on S&P 500 and Nasdaq traded in opposite directions.

Market focus is largely attuned to nonfarm payrolls and unemployment data, expected at 08:30 a.m. ET on Friday. Nonfarm payrolls are predicted to have risen by 160,000 in June, compared to 75,000 in May, according to a Reuters poll.

A weaker-than-expected figure could increase bets that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates at its meeting on July 30 and 31. The central bank opened the door to easier monetary policy last month by stating it will “act as appropriate” to maintain the current economic expansion.

Meanwhile, geopolitical tensions in the Middle East continue to dominate after the British Royal Marines seized a large Iranian oil tanker Thursday for trying to take oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions, evoking fury in Tehran.

Oil prices were mixed in morning trade, with the international benchmark Brent crude futures contract flat at $63.30 per barrel, while U.S crude futures slipped 1.01% to $56.76 per barrel.

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