U.S. stock index futures were higher on Friday ahead of an employment report expected to show that the economy continued to add jobs.
The government's non-farm payrolls report, due at 8:30 a.m. EDT, is seen showing a gain of 190,000 jobs in March, while the unemployment rate is expected to remain steady at 8.9 percent. Reports earlier this week suggested the outlook for the labor market was improving.
European stocks and oil rose in anticipation of the report, which could confirm the U.S. economy continued to gain strength despite the turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa and the nuclear crisis in quake-ravaged Japan.
Investors are also betting a strong payrolls number could help the S&P 500 break above 1,330, a level that has been unbreachable despite several attempts in the past month. Technical momentum may kick in if it breaks past the level, lifting stocks further and closing the gap to a 2011 high of around 1,344.
S&P 500 futures rose 5.7 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 added 38 points and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 8.25 points.
Other macroeconomic data scheduled for Friday includes the Institute for Supply Management report for March, due at 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT). The release follows upbeat Chinese factory data that eased concerns about monetary tightening.
Friday is the first day of the second quarter. The S&P gained 5.4 percent in the first quarter.
The World Trade Organization said late Thursday that Boeing Co
Goldman Sachs Group Inc
U.S. stocks ended the first quarter with the barest of moves on Thursday.
(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)