Top 5 Things to Know in The Market on Thursday  | Sep 06, 2018 05:50AM ET

Top 5 things to know today in financial markets - Here are the top five things you need to know in financial markets on Thursday, September 6:

1. Markets Brace for More U.S. Tariffs on China

Investors continued to monitor the threat of fresh U.S. tariffs on another $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, which could come as soon as a public comment period ends at midnight in Washington on Thursday.

China's commerce ministry warned that Beijing will be forced to retaliate if Washington implements new tariff measures.

The world's two largest economies have already applied tariffs to $50 billion of each other's goods. Talks aimed at easing tensions ended last month without major breakthroughs.

Washington is demanding Beijing improve market access and intellectual property protections for U.S. companies, cut industrial subsidies and slash a $375 billion trade gap.

Investors are also watching for developments as the U.S. and Canada resume talks about revamping the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Canada insisted there was room to salvage the pact despite few signs a deal was imminent.

2. Labor Market Data Ahead

On the data front, the market’s attention will shift to the U.S. labor market with the ADP’s report on private payroll growth, which is often seen as a warmup act for the big Friday government nonfarm payrolls report, and the weekly report on initial jobless claims both set for release in the morning.

Economists expect the ADP report to show that private payroll growth totaled 188,000 during August.

Elsewhere on the economic calendar on Thursday, the August read on service sector activity from Markit Economics as well as the Institute for Supply Management’s gauge on non-manufacturing economic activity will also be released.

Factory orders for July are also set to be published.

Economists reckon the data will do little to alter expectations that the Federal Reserve will hike interest rates two more times this year, with the next move higher coming at its September 25-26 meeting.

The dollar was steady against a currency basket.

3. U.S. Stocks Futures Point to Higher Open

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a slightly higher open on Wall Street, although fresh losses in emerging markets and worries Washington will follow through on plans to levy an extra $200 billion of Chinese imports kept investors on the edge.

At 5:45AM ET, the blue-chip Dow futures were up 60 points, or 0.25%, the S&P 500 futures tacked on 4 points, or 0.15%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a gain of 9 points, or roughly 0.1%.

A sharp sell-off in tech pushed the Nasdaq Composite and S&P 500 lower on Wednesday.

On the earnings front, the week’s lone report from the S&P 500 will come after the market close when Broadcom (NASDAQ:AVGO) reports results. Other companies reporting results Thursday include Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS), GameStop (NYSE:GME), and Five Below (NASDAQ:FIVE).

Elsewhere, in Europe, the pan-regional STOXX 600 benchmark hit its lowest level since early April in early trading but later turned slightly positive to trade up 0.2%, supported by gains among utility stocks.

Earlier, in Asia, markets in the region skidded for a sixth straight session with investor confidence shaken by turmoil in emerging markets and jitters over a potentially severe escalation in the U.S.-China trade war.

4. EIA's Weekly Oil Supply Report

In commodities, the U.S. Energy Information Administration will release its official weekly oil supplies report for the week ended August 31 at 11:00AM ET.

The data comes out one day later than usual due to Monday's Labor Day holiday.

After markets closed Wednesday, the American Petroleum Institute said that U.S. oil inventories fell by 1.17 million barrels last week.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate WTI crude futures were at $68.83 per barrel, up 11 cents, or 0.2%, from their last settlement.

International Brent crude oil futures were at $77.64 per barrel, 36 cents, or 0.5%, higher from their last close.

5. Bitcoin Taking It on The Chin Again

Bitcoin prices continued to take a hit, plunging for the second day in a row following a report that Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) was dropping its plans for opening a trading desk for cryptocurrencies.

The world's most valuable digital currency was last down around 13%, or $960, at $6,422.30 on the Bitfinex exchange, after falling to as low as $6,302.20, a level last seen on August 22.

Beyond Bitcoin, the price of the other major cryptocurrencies also continued to drop.

Ethereum, the world’s second largest cryptocurrency by market cap, was down 20% at $227.00, its worst level since September 2017.

Meanwhile, XRP was trading at $0.28689, down roughly 9% for the day, while Litecoin was down 15% at $55.33.

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