Stock index futures advanced modestly on Friday, putting the S&P 500 on track to hold near its record high, ahead of the monthly payrolls report.
The employment report for March is due at 8:30 a.m. EDT. Analysts expect a gain of 200,000 jobs, with the unemployment rate expected to tick down to 6.6 percent from the 6.7 percent in the prior month.
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Investors will look for evidence that recent weather-related weakness in the economy has passed. While recent economic data has shown improvement from earlier this year, when lackluster data was largely discounted due to a harsh winter, they have not shown a marked improvement over last year.
U.S. stocks slipped in the prior session, as investors turned cautious ahead the jobs report, while a drop in biotech and momentum shares dragged the Nasdaq down nearly 1 percent.
S&P 500 e-mini futures rose 3.5 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 gained 23 points and Nasdaq 100 futures advanced 10.25 points.
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European shares advanced for a ninth straight session and Asian markets were little changed ahead of the payrolls report. <.EU>