Stock index futures rose on Friday ahead of a report expected to show the smallest number of job losses so far this year in August as the economy struggles out of recession.
U.S. employers are expected to have eliminated 225,000 jobs last month, down from 247,000 in July, according to economists polled by Reuters. But the unemployment rate is seen rising to 9.5 percent from 9.4 percent.
Kim Caughey, senior equity research analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh, said investors expected the jobless number may be better than forecast following the ADP private jobs report earlier this week. But she warned that low volumes ahead of the U.S. Labor Day holiday weekend may increase volatility.
Luck is on the side of the jobs number today because a fair amount of people aren't going to be sitting in their offices looking at that number, she said. But that can make for outsize reactions because there aren't enough participants in the market.
S&P 500 futures added 4.8 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 32 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 8.75 points.
Oil futures moved above $68 a barrel in thin dealing, while gold steadied below $990 an ounce, consolidating the biggest two-day gain since March, which boosted shares of gold miners such as Newmont Mining Corp
Overseas markets were broadly higher, with the Shanghai Composite index <.SSEC> up 0.6 percent, and European shares <.FTEU3> gaining about 1 percent.
Stocks snapped a four-day losing streak on Thursday. After sharp declines this week, the S&P 500 index finished above 1,000 on stronger-than-expected retail sales and an improvement in the services sector.
Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Richard Fisher gave a muted outlook for the economy Thursday, saying a long period of slow growth lies ahead even when the recession ends.
(Reporting by Edward Krudy; Editing Jeffrey Benkoe)