Futures Edge Up After Jobs Report


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U.S. stock-index futures climbed slightly on the heels of a jobs report that showed a bigger-than-expected increase in payrolls.

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Today's Markets

As of 8:37 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose 16 points to 13337, S&P 500 futures rose 4 points to 1458 and Nasdaq 100 futures gained 9.5 points to 2731.

Despite a lackluster performance Thursday, the markets have posted a strong performance during the first week of 2013. The Dow has leapt higher by some 3.5%, while the broader S&P 500 has surged 4.1%.

With Congress fading out of the picture for the moment, traders are getting a fresh chance to focus on the U.S. economy.

The Labor Department said non-farm payrolls increased by 155,000 in December, beating expectations of an increase of 150,000. The unemployment rate held steady at 7.8%, compared to expectations of 7.7%. November’s jobless rate was revised up by 0.1 percentage point to 7.8%. Digging into the report, the private sector added 168,000 jobs, while the government shed 13,000.

There are two other reports due at 10:00 a.m. ET. One from the Institute for Supply Management is expected to show the U.S. services sector expanding at a just slightly slower rate in December than it did the month before. The other from the Commerce Department may show factory orders having revved up by 0.4% in November on a month-to-month basis.

Commodities came under heavy selling pressure after minutes from the Federal Reserve released Thursday showed many members of the central bank's policy-setting board see asset purchases ending this year. Those remarks pushed the dollar higher against a basket of world currencies Thursday and Friday, which tends to put pressure on dollar-traded commodities.

Gold tumbled $38.50, or 2.3%, to $1,636 a troy ounce. The benchmark U.S. crude contract slid $1.06, or 1.1%, to $91.87 a barrel. Meanwhile, wholesale New York Harbor gasoline sold off by 1.4% to $2.758 a gallon.

Foreign Markets

The Euro Stoxx 50 fell 0.27% to 2694, the English FTSE 100 dipped 0.01% to 6047 and the German DAX slipped 0.18% to 7742.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 soared 2.8% to 10688 and the Chinese Hang Seng fell 0.29% to 23331.