Here are the most important news items that investors need to start their trading day:
1. Can stocks stay on a winning streak?
The S&P 500 has posted gains for four straight trading days heading into Friday's session, offering investors glimmers of hope that equities could be rebounding in earnest after the worst first half for stocks in more than five decades. Futures were mixed before Friday's open on Wall Street. Stocks in the premarket dipped as bond yields rose, following a stronger-than-expected June jobs report.
2. Jobs report in focus
Job growth accelerated at a much faster pace than expected in June. Nonfarm payrolls increased 372,000 in the month, better than the 250,000 Dow Jones estimate, and continuing what has been a strong year for job growth, according to data Friday from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate was 3.6%, unchanged from May and in line with estimates.
3. Assassination in Japan
A shocking development out of Japan: Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shot dead at a campaign event for the Liberal Democratic Party in the city of Nara, which is near Kyoto. Abe, 67, was Japan's longest-serving prime minister and was known for his "Abenomics" stimulus policies and statesmanship. He stepped down two years ago due to declining health. A suspect was reportedly in custody. There was no apparent indication of motive as of Friday morning.
4. GameStop shake-up
A day after announcing a stock split, GameStop, the video game retailer chaired by activist investor Ryan Cohen, threw another curveball at investors. The company fired CFO Mike Recupero and announced layoffs as it pursues a turnaround plan. Cohen himself pushed Recupero out, a source told CNBC, because "he was not the right culture fit" and was "too hands off." Shares of the meme stock fell in off-hours trading.
5. Levi raises dividend
Shares of blue jean behemoth Levi Strauss jumped after the company hiked its dividend and announced quarterly results that topped Wall Street's expectations. One big reason? More relaxed dress codes in the workplace, as people trickle back to their desks while Covid restrictions ease. "Jeans are now much more acceptable in the office," CEO Chip Bergh told CNBC.
– CNBC's Carmen Reinicke, Jeff Cox, Patti Domm, Arjun Kharpal, Melissa Repko, Lauren Thomas and Ian Krietzberg contributed to this report.
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