Wall Street set for higher open on payrolls data

By @ibtimes on

U.S. stocks were set for a higher open on Friday, putting the S&P on track to snap a four-day losing streak, after an unexpectedly strong payrolls report eased fears about the path of the economic recovery.

U.S. nonfarm payrolls rose 244,000 last month, the most in 11 months, the Labor Department said on Friday, well above economist' expectations for a 186,000 increase.

U.S. crude oil futures, which had slumped on Thursday after a patch of soft economic data during the week, pared earlier losses and were flat at $99.82 a barrel. ICE Brent futures rose 0.3 percent to $111.10.

Exxon Mobil Corp rose 0.9 percent to $83.33 and Chevron Corp gained 0.9 percent to $103.50.

Surprisingly good, strong number here -- this reminds everyone that we are still on the path of recovery, said Jeff Kleintop, chief market strategist at LPL Financial in Boston.

This might even put a bid back in commodities which have suffered so tremendously this week on the fear that there is no more need for an inflation hedge.

S&P 500 futures gained 12.20 points and were well 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 100 points and Nasdaq 100 futures climbed 23 points.

Wall Street stock indexes fell for a fourth straight day on Thursday as a massive sell-off in commodities spilled over into other markets, forcing investors out of higher-risk assets and rattling equities markets before Friday's U.S. payrolls data.

Friday marks the one-year anniversary of the flash crash on Wall St, when the Dow dropped 600 points in 10 minutes.

The benchmark S&P 500 has fallen 2.1 percent this week on a string of soft economic data, culminating in a drop in commodity prices on Thursday as concerns rose over deteriorating demand.

Commodity-based stocks led the S&P to a 4.5 percent gain at the start of the week after the benchmark index tested the technical support level of 1,300 on April 18.

Companies that posted results on Friday include Constellation Energy Group and The Washington Post Company .

Constellation shares slipped 3.1 percent to $34.55 in premarket trade.

Through Thursday, with 421 of the S&P 500 companies having reported quarterly earnings, 68 percent had profits that beat Wall Street expectations, according to Thomson Reuters data.

(Editing by James Dalgleish)

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