U.S. Stock Futures Push Higher Ahead of Jobs Data
08/03/2012| 06:43am US/Eastern
By William L. Watts
U.S. stock index futures advanced Friday, shaking off disappointment over a lack of immediate action this week by the Federal Reserve or the European Central Bank as investors await the release of July nonfarm payrolls data.
Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average recently rose 74 points to 12905. S&P 500 futures gained 9.3 points to 1371.2, while Nasdaq-100 futures advanced 20.5 points to 2639.
U.S. stocks ended lower Thursday after the European Central Bank disappointed investors by failing to announce concrete measures to address the euro-zone debt crisis a week after ECB President Mario Draghi said the institution would do "whatever it takes" within its mandate to save the euro.
The U.S. Federal Reserve disappointed investors earlier this week, failing to extend its pledge to keep interest rates at extraordinarily low levels.
Investors may see weak payrolls numbers as a sign the Fed eventually will take further action, strategists said.
"The labor market's performance is underwhelming in relation to previous cycles and with growth prospects deteriorating the Fed will be anxious to be seen to be doing something. As such, today's report is likely to intensify expectations of further stimulus," said James Knightley, economist at ING Bank.
Economists surveyed by MarketWatch forecast a net gain of 100,000 jobs in July, up from 89,000 in June. The unemployment rate is forecast to hold steady at 8.2%.
The Labor Department will release July jobs data at 8:30 a.m. EDT. The Institute for Supply Management's July nonmanufacturing index is slated for release at 10 a.m. It's forecast to come in at 52% versus 52.1% in June.
Professional-networking site LinkedIn Corp. reported stronger-than-expected revenue after Thursday's close and raised its full-year outlook. Shares rose 8% in premarket activity.
Shares of Knight Capital Group fell 5.8% in premarket trade Friday after tanking 63% on Thursday and 33% on Wednesday. The firm's shares were hammered after it disclosed that exiting erroneous trades caused by a technology snafu cost it $440 million.
The company said Thursday it is looking at options to strengthen its capital.
The flow of earnings data was set to tail off ahead of the weekend. Still, results were expected ahead of the opening bell from household-products maker Procter & Gamble Co., media firm Viacom Inc. and WellCare Health Plans Inc.
European stocks bounced back from Thursday's post-ECB decline, with the Stoxx 600 Europe index jumping 1.1%.
Nymex crude-oil futures rose 93 cents to $88.06 a barrel. Gold futures gained $6.60 an ounce to $1597.30.
The dollar index, which measures the currency against a basket of six major rivals, fell to 83.081 from 83.320 in North American trade late Thursday.
The euro traded at $1.2231, up from $1.2180 on Thursday. The dollar changed hands at Y78.235 versus the Japanese currency , little changed from y78.210 on Thursday.
Write to William L. Watts at AskNewswires@dowjones.com
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