Stock Futures Edge Higher Ahead Of Nonfarm Payrolls Data

 
on May 04 2012 7:51 AM

Futures on major U.S. stock indices point to a higher opening ahead of key U.S. monthly nonfarm payrolls and unemployment data from the government.

Futures on the S&P 500 are up 0.15 percent, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average are up 0.09 percent and Nasdaq 100 futures are up 0.26 percent.

Investors are eagerly waiting for the government's monthly nonfarm payrolls report, which is the most closely-watched economic data pertaining to the jobs market and is a key gauge for the direction and pace of the economic recovery.

Economists polled by Reuters expect a rise of 170,000 jobs last month, compared to a gain of 120,000 jobs in March, while the unemployment rate is expected to remain at 8.2 percent.

The much-awaited U.S. jobs report, to be released Friday, follows data on private sector hiring, ISM services and April retail sales that fueled concern that the strength of recovery in the world's largest economy is faltering.

Payroll firm ADP Employer Services said Wednesday that the U.S. private sector added fewer jobs than expected in April, while the U.S. services sector expanded at a slower pace than expected in April. In particular, the employment index declined 2.5 points to 54.2 percent.

The downturn in the ISM services jobs component, combined with weakness in private sector hiring, point to a sluggish April employment report, which would prompt concerns about a renewed weakening in the U.S. jobs market.

On the corporate front, shares of LinkedIn Corp. (LNKD) rallied 10 percent in pre-market trading. Its first quarter net profit surged to $5.0 million or $0.04 per from $2.1 million or break-even per share in the same period last year. The company announced the acquisition of SlideShare, a professional content sharing community, for $118.8 million.

Shares of DigitalGlobe Inc (DGI) climbed more than 25 percent in the pre-market session after GeoEye Inc. announced Friday that it was proposing to acquire DigitalGlobe.

European stocks are currently trading mixed with FTSE 100 down by 32.25 points and DAX30 down by 16.01 points while CAC 40 up by 2.45 points.

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