Here’s what to watch in the jobs report as a ‘tug-of-war’ grips the market

Ahead of the U.S. employment report due out Friday morning, the market is in the midst of what one strategist is describing as a “tug-of-war.”

The tension comes from the juxtaposition between relatively robust U.S. economic growth and fears of a looming international trade war, Boris Schlossberg, managing director of BK Asset Management, told CNBC’s “Trading Nation.”

As these factors play out and the Trump administration’s imminent tariffs on Chinese goods stoke the tiff between the U.S. and China, the monthly U.S. jobs report may hold several key clues to the market’s next move in the face of competing forces. Here’s what he says to watch.

• As this tug-of-war plays out, the market has been in a bit of a wait-and-see mode. Equities, the U.S. dollar and bonds were little changed ahead of both the jobs report and the tariff deadline.

• Investors should keep in mind that a response from the Chinese government, following the tariffs’ implementation, may eclipse any positive headlines from the jobs report. On the other hand, if data proves positive and the Chinese response is mild, the U.S. dollar, yields and equities could all see relief rallies.

• Within the jobs report, average hourly wages will be the main focus for the market on Friday. While job listings have been plentiful, wage growth remains modest, and the market is looking for wages to rise at a healthy 0.3 percent clip.

• If that forecast meets estimates, the dollar and U.S. Treasury yields are likely to rise, as market expectations for four rate hikes from the Fed will rise.

Bottom line: Any positive data that may come from the jobs report could be offset by a Chinese response to newly implemented tariffs on Chinese imports.

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Michael Santoli

Michael Santoli joined CNBC in October 2015 as a Senior Markets Commentator, based at the network's Global Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.  Santoli brings his extensive markets expertise to CNBC's Business Day programming, with a regular appearance on CNBC's “Closing Bell (M-F, 3PM-5PM ET).   In addition, he contributes to CNBCand CNBC PRO, writing regular articles and creating original digital videos.

Previously, Santoli was a Senior Columnist at Yahoo Finance, where he wrote analysis and commentary on the stock market, corporate news and the economy. He also appeared on Yahoo Finance video programs, where he offered insights on the most important business stories of the day, and was a regular contributor to CNBC and other networks.

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