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Wall Street digests jobs numbers, waits for Fed speak

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a lower open on Monday, as oil prices bounced and investors waited for comment from the Federal Reserve, following a stronger-than-expected jobs report on Friday.

Federal Reserve Vice Chair Stanley Fischer and Fed Governor Lael Brainard are both due to deliver speeches on Monday afternoon in Washington, which will be watched for any comment on the current state of the U.S. economy ahead of the Fed's next rate decision on March 16.

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 spite of the positive surprise created by the strong U.S. payroll report published on Friday, the focus this week will be on the European Central Bank. Expectations of a rate hike at the March Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting were hardly changed after the release, rightly in our view, reflecting the fact that weakening economic conditions globally warrant at least a pause in the FOMC's tightening course," said rates strategist at Mizuho International, Antoine Bouvet.

It should be a very quiet week for U.S. economic news, with just January consumer credit figures on Monday at 3:00 p.m. ET and wholesale inventory data Wednesday the only data releases of note in the first half of the week.

Oil prices traded strongly on Monday, extending gains seen on Friday after the nonfarm payrolls report was released showing the economy created 242,000 jobs in February, topping expectations.

Front-month Brent crude futures were trading around $39.15 per barrel early on Monday, up around 45 cents from Friday's close. That is almost a third above 2016 lows from mid-February, when prices hit levels not seen since 2003.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures were trading at $36.24 a barrel, up 32 cents from their last close and 40 percent above February lows.

Earnings due for release include Black Stone Minerals, Shake Shack and Thor Industries.

European markets traded lower Monday despite last Friday's solid U.S. jobs report as investors digested the latest economic targets from China and focus on the European Central Bank's (ECB) next meeting this week.

In Asia, China announced new economic targets at the National People's Congress (NPC) over the weekend.

China's new economic targets for 2016, released on Saturday at the National People's Congress (NPC) meeting, included a revised growth target of between 6.5 and 7 percent, a consumer price index growth target of around 3 percent and a budget deficit at 3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), according to Reuters.

Chinese markets were higher, with the Shanghai composite closing up 0.85 percent, while the Shenzhen composite added over 2 percent