September 7, 2018 / 1:18 PM / 2 months ago

US STOCKS-Futures drop as robust jobs raise rate hike fears

* Aug job growth tops estimates, wage growth at 9-yr high

* Bets for two 2018 rate hikes firm, bets for 2019 hikes up

* Internet stocks lower for third straight session

* Broadcom and Marvell Tech rise on encouraging forecasts

* Futures down: Dow 0.43 pct, S&P 0.43 pct, Nasdaq 0.83 pct (For a live blog on the U.S. stock market, click or type LIVE/ in an Eikon news window.)

By Shreyashi Sanyal

Sept 7 (Reuters) - U.S. stock indexes were set to open lower on Friday, after strong jobs data underscored tightening labor market conditions and cemented expectations for the Federal Reserve increasing interest rates.

U.S. job growth accelerated in August, with wages notching their largest annual increase in nine years, the Labor Department said, strengthening views the economy was so far weathering the Trump administration’s escalating trade war with China.

“Futures are down a little bit, it could be on wages for those who are afraid of rate hikes, it certainly reinforces that September is almost definite and makes the December probability a little bit higher,” said JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade in Chicago.

Traders of U.S. short-term interest-rate futures kept their bets of two more rate hikes this year, with a further hike expected in June of 2019. The probability of a second 2019 rate hike increased, but was still below 50 percent.

At 9:05 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 111 points, or 0.43 percent. S&P 500 e-minis were down 12.5 points, or 0.43 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 62.25 points, or 0.83 percent.

Investors also prepared for a fresh salvo of Sino-U.S. tariffs as public comment period for proposed U.S. tariffs on an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese imports passed at midnight ET (0400 GMT). The tariffs could now go into effect at any moment, although there was no clear timetable, and Beijing has said it would retaliate.

According to CNBC, President Donald Trump hinted to a Wall Street Journal columnist that he might next take up trade issues with Japan. This as U.S.-Canada talks on a North American Free Trade Agreement deal still face a few stubborn issues.

“Seems like investors are following the recent trend of downward bias with focus primarily on trade concerns. It’s a wait and watch game right now,” said Andre Bakhos, managing director at New Vines Capital LLC in Bernardsville, New Jersey.

Shares of social media stocks weakened for the third session in a row in premarket trading on concerns of increased regulations. Facebook dropped 1.3 percent, Alphabet was off 0.9 percent, Snapchat-parent Snap Inc fell 0.5 percent and Twitter declined 2.3 percent.

After steep declines on Thursday, chip stocks looked to get a breather based on encouraging reports from Broadcom and Marvell Technology.

Broadcom was up 3.2 percent after its current-quarter revenue forecast largely beat estimates on strong data center demand and expectations of a boost from a new Apple iPhone.

Marvell Technology rose 8.2 percent after raising its forecast for synergies around the Cavium acquisition, which, analysts said, removed risks around further growth.

Mattel climbed 2.7 percent after the toymaker announced plans to produce motion pictures based on its franchises.

Tesla slid 7.2 percent after the electric carmaker said its chief accounting officer resigned on Tuesday, just about a month after he joined. (Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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