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Pantheon Chief Economist Worries Wages May Pressure Fed

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It's Jobs Day, South Korea's president is impeached, and the oil market gets interesting. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about today.

Jobs day

At 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time the Bureau of Labor statistics will release payrolls data for February. After job gains of 227,000 in January, economists surveyed by Bloomberg expect the U.S. economy to have added 200,000 positions last month, with annual hourly earnings growth increasing by 2.8 percent. Both ADP and initial jobless claims data released this week have bolstered the case for a Federal Reserve rate hike next week, so only a gigantic surprise today would likely move the dial on those expectations. 

Impeachment upheld

President Park Geun-hye of South Korea saw her parliament's impeachment upheld by the country's highest court, opening the door for her to face jail time amid a corruption probe. The graft investigation, which has also snared Samsung Electronics Co. heir-apparent Jay Y. Lee, is the largest scandal in the nation in decades. Shares on Seoul's Kospi index, which have rallied since Park's impeachment in December, are likely to continue their gains if history is any guide

Oil gets lively

The oil market, which had been range bound for the first few months of the year, is finally showing signs of life. Bulls may not appreciate the direction the commodity has moved, however. A barrel of West Texas Intermediate for April delivery was trading at $49.49 at 5:30 a.m. The drop in prices shows the OPEC deal to reduce production is facing a major test. As OPEC tries to reduce the glut in global supply, U.S. exports are set to grow “a lot more," according to oil trader Vitol Group BV.

Markets rise

Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.4 percent, while Japan's Topix index added 1.2 percent as the yen declined for a fourth day. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.5 percent higher at 5:43 a.m. as energy shares reversed losses in previous sessions. U.S. futures were also rising as investors await jobs data. 

Free trade

EU leaders are taking on President Donald Trump's 'America First' mantra by sending a clear signal that the 28-nation bloc will continue to promote free trade. This week's meetings in Brussels are more likely to be dominated by Brexit positioning than free-trade deals, as leaders start to lay out their positions on the coming negotiations. 

What we've been reading 

This is what's caught our eye over the last 24 hours.

(Corrects time of payrolls report in second paragraph)

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