US Stock Futures Signal Higher Open Ahead Of Nonfarm Payrolls, Unemployment Reports

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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, February 22, 2011.

The U.S. stock index futures point to a higher open Friday ahead of the Bureau of Labor Statistics' nonfarm payrolls and unemployment reports.

The futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.37 percent, the futures on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index were up 0.31 percent and those on the Nasdaq 100 Index were up 0.40 percent.

Investors are likely to focus on the nonfarm payrolls report Friday. The report, which measures the change in the number of people employed in the previous month, excluding the farming industry, is expected to increase to 160,000 in January from 155,000 in December.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics will release its unemployment report, which measures the percentage of the total workforce that was unemployed and actively seeking employment in the previous month. The January unemployment rate is expected to remain unchanged at 7.8 percent as in December.

Investors will continue to focus on earnings reports with Chevron Corporation (NYSE: CVX), Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE: XOM), Merck & Co. Inc. (NYSE: MRK), Newell Rubbermaid Inc. (NYSE: NWL) and Tyson Foods Inc. (NYSE: TSN) expected to announce their quarterly results Friday.

On Thursday, the U.S. stocks fell as investor confidence was weighed down by disappointing economic indicators.  According to the data released Thursday by the Department of Labor, jobless claims, which measure the number of individuals who filed for unemployment insurance for the first time last week, rose to 368,000 in the week ending Jan. 26, up from 330,000 in the previous week. Also, according to the data released Thursday by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, personal income rose 2.6 percent in December up from 1 percent in November and personal spending rose 0.2 percent in December down from 0.4 percent fall in November.

Meanwhile, Colgate-Palmolive Company (NYSE: CL) reported Thursday that the company’s net income rose to $598 million or $1.26 per share in the fourth quarter compared to $590 million or $1.21 per share in the same period the earlier year. Mastercard Inc. (NYSE: MA) reported that the company’s net income rose to $605 million or $4.86 per share in the fourth quarter compared to $19 million or $0.15 per share in the same period last year.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.36 percent, the S&P 500 Index was down 0.26 percent and the Nasdaq Composite Index marginally declined 0.01 percent.

European markets rose Friday with London's FTSE 100 moving up 21.99 points, Germany's DAX 30 index advancing 20.49 points and France's CAC 40 gaining 14.27 points.

Asian stock markets were mixed Friday with China’s Shanghai Composite rising 33.60 points, Japan’s Nikkei moving up 52.68 points, India’s Sensex dropping 81.17 points and South Korea’s Kospi Composite Index declining 4.15 points.  

The data released Friday by the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing showed that the Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) dropped to 50.4 in January from 50.6 in December. Significantly, the index remained in the expansion zone with a reading above 50.

Meanwhile, according to HSBC, India's PMI data released Friday showed that the country’s manufacturing activity expanded in January albeit at a slower rate than December. The HSBC India Manufacturing PMI posted a reading of 53.20 in January, down from 54.7 in December.

 

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