Stocks headed for a slightly higher open on Friday, with shares of natural resource companies set to lead the charge as commodity prices rose, offsetting more bleak news about the labor market.
Government data showed the U.S. unemployment rate surged to its highest in 25 years last month as companies buckled under the strain of a recession that is showing no signs of abating. Even so, analysts said the bleak news may already have been discounted.
The numbers were weak and the unemployment rate is moving higher but the markets have been primed to think that no matter what data you get the results will only get worse, said Subodh Kumar, chief investment strategist at Subodh Kumar & Associates in Toronto.
I think you'll start to see the market realize that though the unemployment rate goes up, the numbers aren't worse than expected. I think we're in that process now, with tough numbers, but not worse than expected.
S&P 500 futures rose 5.50 points and were above fair value, a formula to evaluate pricing taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 30 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 3.75 points.
Before the bell, Alcoa Inc
(Reporting by Ellis Mnyandu and Ryan Vlastelica; Editing by James Dalgleish)