Hello friends and Fortune readers.
Wall Street stock futures are a bit higher early Friday but that will mean nothing come 0830 when the Labor Department puts out its monthly employment report. The dollar is marking time, a little lower, against the euro and crude oil futures are comfortably above $45 a barrel, having risen some 50c overnight, as nerves about the escalation of the Syria conflict start to push prices higher.
Today’s must-read story is from Fortune‘s Phil Wahba and it looks at the planned closure of 100 locations of the coffee-and-doughnut chain Dunkin’ Donuts (DNKN) at a time when increased competition in the fast-food breakfast market has weighed down the brand’s sales growth of late.
Here’s what else you need to know today.
1. Russia says it’s bombing ISIS. The West disagrees.
Russia said Friday it had carried out new rounds of air strikes in Syria, hitting 12 Islamic State targets. However, reports suggest military actions continue to be concentrated in the west of the country where other rebel factions are operating. The Russian and Syrian governments are insisting on conflating the two, with the Syrian ambassador to Russia claiming “they are all ISIS.” As such, the world’s two most powerful airforces continue to operate rival campaigns over the same airspace. What could possibly go wrong?
2. September jobs report
Today, the Labor Department puts out its monthly look at the U.S. employment situation. After a slowdown in August, employment growth likely picked back up last month, with 203,000 new jobs expected to have been added in September. There is also some hope that the government’s revised numbers for August will show more impressive growth than the 173,000 new jobs reported initially. The unemployment rate is expected to hold steady at its 7-1/2-year low of 5.1%.
3. Fed officials speak; factory orders report
As far as potentially market-moving events, today brings a handful of events featuring Federal Reserve officials as speakers, including Fed Vice Chair Stanley Fischer speaking at a monetary policy conference in Boston and James Bullard, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, speaking about the economy and monetary policy at a meeting in New York. There may be a low likelihood that any of these Fed officials say something game-changing with regards to the central bank’s views on the state of the U.S. economy and potential timing of the Fed’s eventual interest rate hike, but their remarks will be monitored closely for any further hints. Meanwhile, today also brings a monthly report on factory orders, which are expected to have dropped in August, following a similar drop in durable goods orders.
4. Elon Musk’s special announcement
The Tesla Motors (TSLA) CEO will be in New York City’s Times Square today in his role as chairman of solar power startup SolarCity (SCTY) and as part of the Inside Energy summit. Musk and SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive are expected to make a special announcement.
5. Hurricane Joaquin
The threat to the U.S. from Hurricane Joaquin has eased, according to the National Hurricane Center’s latest update. The Miami-based NHC said the slow-moving storm now appears to be heading away from the mid-Atlantic states, signalling that there will likely be no repeat of the havoc wrought by Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina.
— Reuters contributed to this report.