Stock futures pointed to a higher open on Friday on growing hopes that data pointing to an easing of the deep recession will prove to be lasting, despite what could be another dismal U.S. jobs report.
In the latest sign that consumers continue to spend, Research in Motion
The nonfarm payrolls report is expected to show the economy shed 650,000 jobs in March, while the unemployment rate is expected to climb to 8.5 percent, according to Reuters data.
Despite the gloomy picture the data is likely to paint, Paul Mendelsohn, chief investment strategist at Windham Financial Services in Charlotte, Vermont said it will be encouraging if stocks rally in the face of bad news.
Stocks have surged in recent sessions on signs the recession is moderating.
The market has a positive upward bias and is going to try to look through the employment report. Whether it can overcome the bears remains to be seen, said Mendelsohn.
S&P 500 futures rose 1.90 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 were up 6 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 4.50 points.
The broad S&P 500 has climbed 23.3 percent off the 12-year lows hit in early March, while the Dow is on track for its best four-week rally since 1933.
Data on nonmanufacturing ISM is on tap at 10 a.m. EDT.
In Washington, Congress approved budget blueprints late on Thursday but left many hard choices until later. With no Republican support, the House of Representatives and Senate approved slightly different, less expensive versions of President Barack Obama's $3.55 trillion budget plan for fiscal 2010.
On Thursday stocks rallied for a third day as more data suggested the economy could be starting to stabilize and changes to an accounting rule were seen as shoring up the volatile financial sector in the short term.
(Editing by James Dalgleish)