Wall Street stocks were set for a higher open on Friday after data showed the U.S. jobless rate dropped to a 2-1/2 year low and as policymakers again appeared to move a step closer to tackling Europe's debt crisis.
Employment growth picked up speed in November and the jobless rate dropped to 8.6 percent from 9 percent, further evidence an economic recovery was gaining momentum.
The U.S. has clearly turned a corner, said Eric Lascelles, chief economist at RBC Global Asset Management in Toronto.
It's still not consistent with ebullient economic growth, it's far more consistent with sluggish to moderate growth, but even that is very welcome in the context of a global economy that's really suffering right now.
S&P 500 futures rose 14.1 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures jumped 112 points, and Nasdaq 100 futures added 24.75 points.
Stock futures also got a boost after Bloomberg cited sources as saying the European Central Bank was gearing up to lend as much as 200 billion euros ($270 billion) to the International Monetary Fund in a bid to ease the debt crisis.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated her strong support for the euro, and called for rapid European Union treaty change to remedy the root causes of the euro zone's debt crisis but warned that Europeans faced a long, hard marathon to restore lost credibility.
European stocks <.FTEU3> rose 1.3 percent on Friday and were set to post their biggest weekly gains since the onset of the financial crisis in late 2008.
U.S.-listed shares of Research in Motion Ltd
Three leading U.S. senators are inquiring into drugmaker Pfizer Inc's
Stocks drifted on Thursday after the previous day's massive gains.
(Reporting by Angela Moon; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)