RTTNews - Following some modest pullbacks, stocks are looking to open Friday's session notably higher amid reaction to encouraging monthly employment figures. The major index futures are all in positive territory, with the Dow futures up by 62 points.
While the Labor Department released a report showing a continued decline in employment in the month of July, the pace of job losses slowed by even more than economists had been anticipating.
The report showed that non-farm payroll employment fell by 247,000 jobs in July following a revised decrease of 443,000 jobs in June. Economists had been expecting employment to fall by 325,000 jobs compared to the drop of 467,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.
Additionally, the Labor Department said that the unemployment unexpectedly edged down to 9.4 percent in July from 9.5 percent in June. The decrease surprised economists, who had been expecting the unemployment rate to edge up to 9.6 percent.
In earnings news, American International Group (AIG) reported second-quarter adjusted net income of $2.57 per share, compared to a loss of $10.15 per share in the year ago quarter. Wall Street analysts expected the embattled insurer to earn $1.33 per share for the quarter. The profit was the first for the firm in seven quarters.
CBS Corp. (CBS) said its second quarter net earnings fell to $0.08 per share from $0.49 per share in the same quarter last year. Analysts expected the company to report earnings of $0.07 per share. The broadcasting giant also reported revenues of $3.01 billion, which fell short of the $3.04 billion forecast for the quarter.
Leap Wireless (LEAP) reported a second-quarter net loss of $0.89 per share, which was wider than the loss of $0.39 per share a year ago. Revenues also fell short of estimates, coming in at $597.41 million compared to $474.86 million in the prior year. Analysts expected revenue of $636.09 million for the quarter.
Fannie Mae (FNM), the government-sponsored home mortgage finance company, reported a heavy loss for the second quarter on higher credit related expenses, impairments and fair value losses. Further, the company said it has applied for an additional $10.7 billion in aid from the federal government and is dependent on the continued support of the Treasury for operating its business.
Further, Crocs Inc. (CROX), Hansen Natural Corp. (HANS), and AES Corp. (AES) largely beat estimates. Generally, companies have been able to surpass expectations on the bottom line via cost cutting, as revenue growth was limited by the economic conditions.
Stocks surrendered early gains and posted moderate losses on Thursday, as traders did some profit taking ahead of today's employment data. The Dow closed down by 25 points at 9,256, the Nasdaq slipped by 20 points to 1,973, and the S&P 500 fell by 6 points to 997.
Crude oil futures are moving lower in early commodities trading, sliding by $0.54 to $71.40 a barrel after drifting lower in the previous session. Meanwhile, the price of gold is on the rise, gaining by $1.80 to $963.3 an ounce.
On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is surging higher against the major European currencies, rising to $1.4311 against the euro and moving up to $1.6737 versus the pound. Meanwhile, the buck is also on the rise against the yen and is now valued at 96.56 yen.
In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance on Friday. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 Index rose by 0.2 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index slipped by a substantial margin, posting a loss of 2.5 percent.
Meanwhile, the major European markets are mixed, with the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index up by 0.5 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is down by 0.3 percent.
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