×

Wall Street awaits key May payroll data

U.S. stock futures were a tad higher on Friday, with a cautious tone expected to prevail on Wall Street ahead of the release of the key non-farm payrolls report.

Bond markets, which have seen wild swings this week, cash-strapped Greece and a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) were all expected to be in focus this session.

Read MoreLooking ahead to the employment report

However, the May jobs report, due out at 08:30 a.m. ET, will likely grab the spotlight. After a slew of recent weak economic numbers, the closely-watched employment data could shed some light on the outlook for growth and the timing of a possible rise in U.S. interest rates.

Analysts polled by Reuters forecast the U.S. economy created 225,000 new jobs last month, compared with 223,000 in April. The unemployment rate is expected to stay unchanged at 5.4 percent.

"If we do get some labor tightening in the data, then maybe you have an argument that lends for the Federal Reserve to tighten sooner but with the weak data it's hard to think we'll get that pressure and I think rates will be on hold for longer than people think," Joe Zidle, a portfolio strategist at Richard Bernstein Advisors, told CNBC on Friday.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Getty Images
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

In its annual assessment of the U.S. economy, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Thursday the Fed should delay a rate hike until the first half of next year until there are signs of a rebound in wages and inflation.

Stock index futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq pointed to a flat to slightly firmer open for Wall Street shares on Friday, with Dow Jones futures up 31 points.

U.S. stocks closed lower on Thursday as volatility in bond markets and a lack of resolution on Greece kept investors on edge ahead of Friday's jobs report.

In Europe, share markets were broadly lower on Friday after Greece delayed a debt payment to the IMF and caution prevailed ahead of the U.S. jobs data.

Read MoreCould OPEC be ready for a production hike?

Greece delayed the IMF payment, due Friday, and urged changes to tough terms demanded by its international creditors in return aid to avoid a default. Uncertainty continued to take a toll on Greek stocks, which fell 3 percent.

Elsewhere, the 10-year Treasury yield was trading at about 2.34 percent, holding below an eight-month peak hit a day earlier of around 2.43 percent, as a degree of stability returned to the market after this week's sharp sell-off in bond prices.

Oil prices meanwhile fell ahead of the OPEC meeting. The oil group was seen holding output at 30 million barrels per day for another six months, keeping a glut in markets.

Liberty Global was also in focus after Britain's Vodafone said it was in talks with the U.S. cable firm about an exchange of "selected assets," although a full merger was not under discussion.