After seeing some weakness in the previous session, stocks are likely to move back to the upside in early trading on Friday following the release of some better than expected employment data. The Dow futures are currently up 84 points.
While a report released by the Labor Department showed a continued decrease in employment in the month of April, the report showed that economy lost far fewer jobs than economists had been anticipating.
The report showed that non-farm payroll employment fell by 539,000 jobs in April following a revised decrease of 699,000 jobs in March. Economists had expected a decrease of about 600,000 jobs compared to the decrease of 663,000 originally reported for the previous month.
At the same time, the Labor Department said that the unemployment rate rose to 8.9 percent in April from 8.5 percent in March. The increase, which lifted the unemployment rate to a new 25-year high, came in line with economist estimates.
Traders also continue to digest the official results of the government's stress tests of the nation's 19 largest financial institutions, which were released after the close of trading on Thursday.
U.S. bank regulators said about half of the country's biggest financial institutions need to improve their capital positions in order to ensure that they can weather a further downturn in the economy.
The results of the stress tests showed that 10 of the 19 banks tested need to raise a total of $74.6 billion. The banks involved in the exercise account for two-thirds of the assets and more than half of the loans in the U.S. banking system.
The biggest requirement comes for Bank of America (BAC), which regulators say needs to raise nearly $34 billion. Wells Fargo (WFC), GMAC and Citigroup (C) are among the other financial institutions that need to improve their capital position, the stress test results showed.
Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs (GS) and JP Morgan Chase (JPM) are among the companies that do not need any further funding, according to regulators.
In other news, Dow component McDonald's (MCD) may be in focus after the fast food giant said its global comparable sales rose 6.9 percent in April. The company also said systemwide sales fell 1.0 percent due largely to the stronger dollar.
Additionally, the Commerce Department is due to release its wholesale inventories report at 10 am ET. Economists expect wholesale inventories at the end of March to show a 1 percent decline.
After failing to sustain an initial upward move, stocks moved sharply lower over the course of the trading day on Thursday. The major averages all pulled back firmly into negative territory after reaching multi-month intraday highs in early trading.
The Dow rose nearly 65 points in early trading, reaching a nearly four-month intraday high, but it eventually ended the session down more than 100 points.
Crude oil futures are rising $1.18 to $57.89 a barrel after advancing $0.37 to a 6-month high of $56.71 a barrel in Thursday's session. Gold futures, which rose $4.50 to $915.50 an ounce in the previous session, are currently up $2.50 at $918 an ounce.
On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 99.118 yen compared to the 99.12 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Thursday. The greenback is currently valued at $1.3487 versus the euro.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region closed mostly higher, reacting positively the U.S. stress test results. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 Index closed up 0.5 percent, at a six-month closing high.
The major European markets are seeing considerable strength, with the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index advancing 1.4 percent, while the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index are up 1.9 percent and 3 percent, respectively.
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