Futures Rally Around July Jobs Report

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Bouncing back from a 500-point plunge, stock futures jumped Friday morning as Wall Street breathes a big sigh of relief after the government's monthly jobs report revealed stronger-than-expected job growth.

Today's Markets

As of 8:38 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures jumped 87 points, or 0.77%, to 11461, the Standard & Poor's 500 futures added 12.75 points, or 1.04%, to 1210.75 and the Nasdaq 100 futures added 16.25 points, or 0.74%, to 2225.75.

U.S. stock futures erased modest losses after the Labor Department said employers added 117,000 jobs in July, easily surpassing consensus calls from economists and beating traders' dreary predictions. Dow futures climbed as much as 140 points before paring their gains.

"It is a sorry state of affairs when 117,000 total jobs created in any given month is cheered enthusiastically by markets," Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG, wrote in a note. "How the mighty have fallen."

The early buying sets the stage for a rebound from Thursday plunge, which saw the Dow plummet 513 points, or 4.31% -- its steepest selloff since February 2009 during the depths of the financial crisis.

The wave of selling brought back memories of the market meltdown of three years ago and knocked the blue chips into the red on the year, leaving them at their lowest close since early December 2010. All three major indexes landed in correction territory, signaling an alarming 10% decline from recent highs. They still have a ways to go before bear-market territory, which is defined as a 20% plunge from recent highs.

All eyes on Friday were glued on the monthly jobs report, which showed the U.S. added 117,000 jobs last month, compared with forecasts for a rise of 85,000 and even worse whisper numbers. The unemployment rate unexpectedly declined to 9.1% from 9.2% and private employers added a robust 154,000 jobs. In another positive, the government also upwardly revised its June payroll figure.

While many are breathing a sigh of relief that payrolls jumped last month, the rise still represents tepid growth at this point in the economic cycle and is not really enough to significantly lower the unemployment rate. Still, some had feared payrolls would actually contract last month given the bleak data released in recent weeks.

"In terms of the dramatically oversold market, it is exactly what was needed for those looking for a bounce," Peter Boockvar, equity strategist at Miller Tabak, wrote in a note.

Analyst will be watching closely for how the markets react to the "good" number. Some believed a worse-than-expected payrolls figure -- or even a contraction -- would have actually spark buying because it would have forced the Federal Reserve to launch a third round of quantitative easing, already dubbed "QE3." The previous two bond-buying exercises proved to be a huge boost to equities.

Like equities, crude oil climbed out of the red after the jobs report was released, putting it on track to halt a five-day tumble. Crude was recently up 58 cents a barrel, or 0.82%, to $87.21. Crude, which is seen as a barometer for the broader economy, has retreated nearly 25% since hitting $113.93 in late April, highlighted by a 5.77% plunge on Thursday to its lowest settle since mid-February. Gold gained $4.80 a troy ounce, or 0.29%, to $1,661.00.

Wall Street woke up Friday to a sea of red in financial markets around the world, highlighted by a 4.3% plunge in Hong Kong's Hang Seng. That selling appeared to mostly be in response to the scary plunge in the U.S. on Thursday. Global selling has been so dramatic this week that more than $2.5 trillion has been wiped off of world stocks, nearly matching the size of the French economy, Reuters reported.

The recent retreat on Wall Street has been sparked by a lack of confidence in Washington, worries about Europe's debt mess spreading to larger economies and a flurry of economic indicators signaling the U.S. recovery is on the verge of stalling or even going in reverse. Recent reports showed gross domestic product slowed down drastically during the first half of the year and manufacturing activity barely expanded in July.

Worries about a double-dip recession have sent cash fleeing from risky assets like stocks and bonds and flooding into safe havens like dollars and Treasurys.

Some believe the selling on Wall Street in recent days has been overdone. After all, the Dow has lost more than 1,100 points in just 10 days and the market cap of the index crumbled by $150.4 billion on Thursday alone.

Corporate Movers

Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) beat the Street with a 15% rise in fiscal fourth-quarter profits to 84 cents a share. The consumer products giants revenue of $20.86 billion also topped estimates, but its earnings guidance disappointed. P&G also said it can meet its growth targets without making a bid for rival Clorox (NYSE:CLX).

Viacom (NYSE:VIA) revealed a stronger-than-expected 37% jump in third-quarter profits. The parent of MTV and Comedy Central posted non-GAAP EPS of 99 cents on $3.77 billion in revenue, compared with estimates for 86 cents on $3.52 billion.

LinkedIn (NASDAQ:LNKD) ticked higher a day after blowing away the Streets view with a non-GAAP profit of 4 cents a share on a 120% surge in revenue to $121 million. The professional networking site, which went public in May, also forecasted stronger-than-expected revenue.

Global Markets

The British FTSE 100 2.21 % to 5,273.74, the French CAC 40 dipped 0.39% to 3307.34 and the German DAX fell 2.05% to 6,283.07.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 tumbled 3.72% to 9,299.88 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng plunged 4.29% to 20946.10.