A The slight increase in the FTSE 100 of 0.15 percent currently puts it at the top of the European market leaderboard. Germany’s Dax is flat, while France’s Cac is currently down 0.33 percent. The pan-European Euro Stoxx 600 is also flat, and traders hold their breath to release a major US salary report this afternoon.

The 1:30 p.m. announcement is expected to show that the American private sector will create 750,000 jobs in the economy in August. Investors see this as a major influence on the Federal Reserve’s decision on when to step back from its current $ 120 billion monthly asset purchases, the liquidity that has been behind the huge jumps in stock markets since the pandemic began.

A value much lower than the expected 750,000 could cause traders to stack stocks, analysts predict, as it would signal a weaker-than-expected economy and therefore not a slowdown in the Federal Reserve’s support rate. A much higher value could have the opposite effect, triggering a sell-off in anticipation of a faster and steeper taper.

If there’s any clue, a separate measurement of U.S. salary numbers in August found them to be 375,000, well below the expected 614,000. However, ADP’s survey has proven to be unreliable in the past.

Jeffrey Halley, Senior Market Analyst at Oanda trading platform, said:

Less than 600,000 jobs will push back Fed expectations. That will result in the markets “buying everything” and selling the US dollar. A number closer to a million jobs will have the opposite effect, sell everything and buy the US dollar, maybe send some bonds out the door. This scenario is likely to be more violent as the street attached its car to the first scenario this week. A number around expectations is going to be a bit too much for me and won’t give us clarity one way or another. The result will still be “buy everything,” just less forcefully.

Michael Hewson, Chief Market Analyst for CMC Markets said:

The big question is whether this really matters in the overall system, and when it comes to US monetary policy, the answer probably doesn’t have to be that much, especially given the aftermath of Jay Powell’s comments last week in Jackson Hole, which were slightly more pronounced Way to a tapering announcement that helped pull the rug out from under the US dollar.

Attention will soon shift to this month’s Fed meeting on the timetable for a reduction in the monthly asset purchase program. A bad report doesn’t change the likelihood of a reduction in purchases, but it does affect the pace, timing, and scope of one and can potentially move it into the next year. A weak number could also push the US dollar further down and on course for another weekly decline.