U.S. stock futures point to higher open
The U.S. stock market is poised to open higher Friday, extending its best day of the year as a widely anticipated employment report showed the U.S. unemployment rate declined last month. The report also showed the economy added fewer jobs than expected jobs in January.
KEEPING SCORE: Dow Jones industrial average futures rose 75 points to 15,624 about 15 minutes before the U.S. stock market opened. Standard & Poor's 500 index futures were up 11 points to 1,778. Nasdaq futures added 27 points to 3,514.
UNEMPLOYMENT FALLS: While cold weather likely held back hiring in December, the impact faded in January. Still, more people began looking for work in January, a sign that they were optimistic about finding jobs. Some of these people found jobs, reducing the unemployment rate to 6.6 percent. That's the lowest rate since October 2008.
WEAKER JOB GROWTH: The Labor Department said early Friday that employers added 113,000 jobs, less than the average monthly gain of 194,000 in 2013. This follows December's tepid increase of just 75,000. Job gains have averaged only 154,000 the past three months, down from 201,000 in the preceding three months. Hopes of a good January report had bolstered the Dow and the S&P 500 index, which each closed up 1.2 percent on Thursday, their largest single-day increase since Dec. 18.
EUROPE UPBEAT: European stocks indexes were mixed in afternoon trading, as traders digested the U.S. jobs report. Germany's DAX rose 0.3 percent at 9,284.40 while the CAC 40 in France was up 0.5 percent at 4,206.95. Britain's FTSE 100 rose up 1.6 percent at 6,558.28.
BUYING BONDS: The yield on the 10-year Treasury note was down at 2.69 percent, compared with 2.70 percent on Thursday as investors moved money into bonds. It slid as low as 2.63 percent shortly after the jobs report came. The yield, which affects rates on mortgages and other consumer loans, had been edging higher after falling to 2.58 percent on Monday, the lowest level in more than two months.
U.S. EARNINGS: LinkedIn's shares fell sharply in extended trading on Thursday after management indicated the company's performance may falter this year as it spends more on long-term projects and revenue growth slows. Grocery chain Fairway also was down sharply after reporting a loss in its fiscal third quarter and saying its CEO is stepping down.