Stock futures signal slight gains for equities

By @ibtimes on

Stock index futures pointed to a slightly higher open for equities on Wall Street on Friday after steep losses in the previous session, with futures for the S&P 500, the Dow Jones and the Nasdaq 100 up 0.04 to 0.1 percent.

U.S. nonfarm payrolls, due at 1230 GMT, are seen rising by 186,000 last month, according to a Reuters survey of economists. In March payrolls rose by 216,000 which was the biggest increase in 10 months.

China staked out areas of contention with the United States on Friday ahead of strategic talks in Washington next week, including the pace of yuan reform and concerns about U.S. debt levels, but Beijing also stressed the two sides' co-dependency.

Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) releases at 1430 GMT its weekly index of economic activity for April 29. In the prior week the index read 129.3.

Sunoco shares fell 5 percent, while Visa Inc fell 1.7 percent after the bell on Thursday following results.

Resource related shares will be in focus as crude oil prices fell by more than $5 a barrel, deepening a 10 percent collapse on Thursday. Base metals prices also sharply fell.

Companies announcing results on Friday include Constellation Energy Group , Northeast Utilities , Pepco Holdings and The Washington Post Company .

European shares fell 0.4 percent on expectations for a downbeat U.S. payrolls report that could further crimp growth expectations in the world's largest economy. Japan's Nikkei average <.N225> fell 1.5 percent as a rout in oil and commodity prices pummeled resource stocks.

On Thursday, the Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> dropped 139.41 points, or 1.10 percent, to 12,584.17. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> fell 12.22 points, or 0.91 percent, to 1,335.10. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> lost 13.51 points, or 0.48 percent, to 2,814.72.

(Reporting by Atul Prakash; Editing by Mike Nesbit)

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