U.S. stock index futures point to a mixed open on Friday ahead of the publication of the Bureau of Labor Statistics' nonfarm payrolls, unemployment reports and another round of corporate earnings report.
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 0.05 percent, futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index were down 0.08 percent while those on the Nasdaq 100 Index were up 0.03 percent.
Investors opted for caution ahead of the government's monthly non-farm payrolls report, which is due to be released before markets open. The report, which measures the change in the number of people employed during the previous month, excluding the farming industry, is expected to show that the U.S. economy added 145,000 jobs last month, following an 88,000 gain in March. The unemployment rate is likely to remain unchanged at 7.6 percent in April in comparison to the previous month.
Investors also await the release of Non-Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) by the Institute of Supply Management (ISM). The report that rates the relative level of business conditions including employment, production, new orders, prices, supplier deliveries, and inventories is expected to post a reading of 54.0 in April from 54.4 recorded in March.
Meanwhile, payroll firm ADP Employer Services said on Thursday that the U.S. private sector added more jobs than expected in April as the number of Americans claiming jobless benefits hit its lowest level since the early days of global economic recession, suggesting that April's employment report will be stronger than economists' initial consensus.
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Other data due for release in the U.S. include the March factory orders that are expected to show a decline from 3.0 percent in February to 2.6 percent in March. Analysts expect the April average earnings scheduled for release today to remain flat.
Also, investors are likely to continue to focus on earnings reports on Friday, with Automatic Data Processing (NASDAQ: ADP), Duke Energy Corp (NYSE: DUK), Host Hotels and Resorts Inc (NYSE: HST), Spectra Energy Corp. (NYSE:SE) and Newell Rubbermaid Inc. (NYSE: NWL), among others are expected to announce their quarterly results on Friday.
U.S. stock markets ended higher on Thursday as a drop in jobless claims and the European Central Bank's interest rate cut boosted investor sentiment. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 130 points, or 0.9 percent to 14,831.58, the S&P 500 Index rose 14.89 points or 0.94 percent to reach 1,597.50 points — close to the 1600 levels — and the Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 1.26 percent to 3,340.62 points, its highest level since November 2000.
European markets posted a mixed response in the opening minutes of the trade as investors await the release of the U.S. non-farm payrolls data, a key indicator of hiring in the country.
The London's FTSE 100 remained little changed, while France's CAC-40 rose 0.2 percent. Germany's DAX-30 gained 0.1 percent.
In Asia most of the markets traded in the green. South Korea's KOSPI gained 0.43 percent to 1,965.71. Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.10 percent to 22,689.96 towards close. The Chinese Shanghai Composite was up 1.44 percent to 2,205.50. Japanese markets were closed on Friday for a public holiday.