Wall Street futures point to slightly weaker start

By @ibtimes on

Futures for the Dow Jones industrial average, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq 100 fall 0.1 to 0.3 percent, pointing to a weaker start for equities on Wall Street on Friday.

Investors awaited non-farm payrolls figures, due at 1330 GMT. Economists polled by Reuters estimated that U.S. employers added 140,000 jobs in November after adding 151,000 jobs in October. The unemployment rate is expected to remain unchanged from October at 9.6 percent.

The U.S. ISM non-manufacturing index will be released at 1500 GMT.

Trading activity around a number of healthcare deals is being examined by the U.S. authorities as part of investigations into suspected insider trading by certain hedge fund players, the Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter.

The authorities are scanning deals such as MedImmune Inc's takeover by AstraZeneca PLC in 2007, Merck's purchase of Schering-Plough and Wyeth's takeover by Pfizer Inc , both in 2009, the WSJ said.

U.S.-based Walter Energy Inc has agreed to buy Canada's Western Coal for C$3.3 billion ($3.25 billion) to create the world's leading metallurgical coal producer.

China will switch to a prudent monetary policy from a moderately loose stance, the Communist Party's top leaders decided on Friday, a change that could pave the way for more interest rate increases and lending controls.

The FTSEurofirst 300 <.FTEU3> index of top European shares is up 0.1 percent, after rising 3.7 percent over the previous two sessions.

Japan's Nikkei share average <.N225> held onto recent gains on Friday as U.S. retail and housing data raised hopes for a swifter recovery in the world's biggest economy while concerns about Europe's debt crisis eased.

Wall Street rallied for a second day on Thursday as concerns about Europe's sovereign debt crisis waned, prompting investors to reverse bearish bets on the market.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> gained 106.63 points, or 0.95 percent, to 11,362.41. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> rose 15.46 points, or 1.28 percent, to 1,221.53. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> added 29.92 points, or 1.17 percent, to 2,579.35.

(Reporting by Atul Prakash; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)

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