RTTNews - Following a moderate climb in the previous session, stocks are looking to open considerably higher on Friday as traders digest a better than expected employment report. The major index futures are all firmly in positive territory, with Dow futures up by 109 points.
Employment fell by much less than expected in the month of May, according to a report released by the Labor Department, although the unemployment rate rose more than expected to reach a new twenty-five year high.
The report showed that non-farm payroll employment fell by 345,000 jobs in May following a revised decrease of 504,000 jobs in April. Economists had expected a decrease of about 520,000 jobs compared to the loss of 539,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.
At the same time, the Labor Department said that the unemployment rate jumped to 9.4 percent in May from 8.9 percent in April. With the increase, the unemployment rate came in above economist estimates of 9.2 percent and rose to its highest level since August of 1983.
On the corporate front, Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto (RTP) is likely to be in focus after the company entered into a joint venture agreement with rival BHP Billiton and scrapped its $19.5 billion deal with Chinalco.
In lieu of its deal with Chinalco, Rio Tinto instead launched a heavily discounted $15.2 billion rights issue. The company also reported a decline in fiscal 2009 first-quarter earnings, adversely impacted by price movements and production volumes amid the downturn in economy.
Elsewhere, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. is pushing for a shake-up of Citigroup's (C) top management, imperiling Chief Executive Vikram Pandit, the Wall street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
The Journal reported that under Chairman Sheila Bair, the FDIC also recently pressed a fellow regulator to lower the government's confidential ranking of Citi's health - a change that would let regulators control the firm more tightly. Citigroup officials have argued that Bair is overstepping her authority.
Meanwhile, international retailer Guess (GES) said its first quarter profit fell 32 percent from last year, as revenue dropped and margins shrank. However, the company's quarterly earnings per share beat analysts' expectations. The firm's shares are up by 5.6 percent in pre-market trading.
Stocks resumed their upward move Thursday following a modest pullback in the previous session. The major averages firmed their position in positive territory in mid-afternoon trading after an uncertain start to the day's session, posting strong gains on the day.
The Dow climbed 75 points to 8,750, the Nasdaq finished up 24 points at 1,850.02 and the S&P 500 closed up by 11 points at 942.
In early commodities trading, crude oil futures are on the rise, climbing by $0.55 to $69.36 a barrel, while gold futures are retreating, dropping by $3.00 to $979.30 an ounce.
On the currency front, the U.S. dollar has moved higher against the major European currencies following the U.S. jobs report. The buck rose to $1.4128 against the euro and slid to $1.6076 against the pound. The dollar also rose versus the yen, moving up to 97.905 yen.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region finished ntoably higher on Friday. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 Index rose by 1.0 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed up by 1.0 percent.
The major European markets are also posting strong gains. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is up by 1.5 percent, while the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index are up by 2.2 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively.
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