Services and manufacturing — What you need to know in markets on Friday

Myles Udland
Markets Reporter

Investors will get a lighter schedule on Friday to cap what’s been a busy week for markets and the economy.

The economic calendar will feature just two reports on Friday, both from Markit Economics. The preliminary readings on service-sector activity and the first look at manufacturing activity in September will both hit the tape at 9:45 a.m. ET.

The service-sector reading is expected to measure 55.7, while the manufacturing gauge should hit 53.0, according to estimates from Bloomberg. Any reading over 50 on these measures indicates expanding activity.

Both reports will be closely watched for signs of life in the U.S. economy, particularly commentary around the labor markets and wage growth.

Also likely to make headlines on Friday will be Facebook (FB), which on Thursday released its first detailed statements related to, as Yahoo Finance’s Rick Newman put it, Russian interests exploiting the social media to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

Zuckerberg Says Facebook Won’t Be Used ‘To Undermine Democracy’

This is a new, and likely continuing story for Facebook, which until now had largely been overlooked by lawmakers but now finds itself in the crosshairs of inquiries in the U.S. amid Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the election.

Facebook shares finished Thursday’s trading session down 0.6%, more than the broader market, though to date these issues have not really been a factor in the company’s stock price.

Amazon’s HQ2

Amazon (AMZN) has been, without a doubt, the most talked-about company of 2017.

And the company’s latest plan to open another headquarters in North America has been garnering headlines across the country as seemingly every decent-sized city in the U.S. wants to be noticed by the online retail giant.

Many of the cities that have been touted as potential landing spots for Amazon are already major “brand name” cities — Atlanta, Boston, Washington, D.C., New York, and Denver, among others.

But on Yahoo Finance on Thursday, Amanda Fung outlined why Newark, New Jersey might be the perfect landing spot for the tech giant.

For one thing, Amazon-owned is headquartered in the city, giving Amazon an existing foothold in Newark. Additionally, New Jersey is already a major employment hub for Amazon, which has 13,000 employees in the state and has built more than 5 million square feet of warehouse and distribution space in the state.

In this Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017, photo, employees work at the Amazon Fulfillment center in Robbinsville Township, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Newark also offers Amazon a major international airport, ample public transportation, major highways, and ample housing. And while the cost of living in the greater New York City metro area is high, Amazon also emphasized its desire to be near colleges and universities for recruiting purposes, and Newark’s proximity to Princeton, New York City’s universities (NYU, Columbia, among others), as well as Rutgers and the New Jersey Institute of Technology, among other colleges in the area, provides a deep pool of talent.

Of course, many American cities will rattle off a list of features that make it attractive to Amazon or other corporations. Additionally, Amazon said that it would have a preference for a “stable and business-friendly environment,” which is a way of saying it would like some tax cuts.

And the benefits of having a new corporation set up shop in your city at the cost of revenues lost due to cushy tax breaks given to that new resident are up for debate.

Factor in that Amazon is soliciting bids for the new headquarters, Olympics-style, and it’s obvious that most cities will end up empty-handed if not a little bit embarrassed for having rolled out the red carpet to a company that just wanted you to make them feel special.

But if Amazon wants to find a city that will meet its needs without being transformed by the tech giant’s presence — like many have charged the company has done to Seattle — then few outposts offer a better chance to blend in than the New York area.

Myles Udland is a writer at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @MylesUdland

Read more from Myles here: