Stock index futures rose slightly on Monday, the first trading day after government data showed the economy added the largest number of jobs in three years, boosting hopes of a turnaround in the economy.
That view was cautiously echoed by the Obama administration over the long Easter holiday weekend. White House economic advisors Lawrence Summers and Christina Romer said the process of job creation had began but warned of a long road ahead.
Nonfarm payrolls increased by 162,000 in March, Friday's report showed. That was below consensus expectations, but stronger gains in private sector hiring were seen as further evidence the economy was on the mend. Markets were closed on Friday for the Good Friday holiday.
Although the jobs report looked positive to most eyes the relatively muted response this morning reflects the fact that the numbers were below forecast, said Andre Bakhos, director of market analytics at Lek Securities in New York
The pending homes sales and the ISM report due out this morning could tip the scales in either direction as investors wait for additional evidence on the economic front.
S&P 500 futures rose 2.6 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures gained 37 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 10.75 points.
A report from the Institute for Supply Management is expected to show the service sector grew in March after expanding at its fastest pace in more than two years the previous month. The ISM's index is expected to rise to 54 points from 53, according to a Reuters poll.
A separate report is expected to show pending home sales were flat in February after unexpectedly falling in the previous month when bad weather hit large areas of the country.
The National Association of Realtors report and the services ISM are due at 10 a.m. (1500 GMT)
U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said on Saturday he was delaying an April 15 report on whether China manipulates its currency but pledged to press for a more flexible Chinese currency policy. Investors fear the issue of China's currency could help spark a trade war between the two trading partners.
(Reporting by Edward Krudy; Editing by W Simon )