Stock Futures Climb on Jobs Data

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Stock-index futures rose modestly after fresh data showed the economy added more jobs than expected last month.

Today's Markets

As of 8:47 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose 28 points to 12873, S&P 500 futures gained 3 points to 1364 and Nasdaq 100 futures climbed 4.8 points to 2638.

The economy added 227,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department reported, better than the 210,000 economists expected. The January reading was also revised higher to an addition of 284,000 from 243,000. The unemployment rate held steady at 8.3% as economists forecast. The labor force participation rate, which tracks the proportion of the population in the labor force, ticked higher by 0.2-percentage point to 63.9%.

Digging into the data, the private sector tacked on 233,000 jobs, while the government shed 6,000. Average hourly earnings edged higher by 0.1% to $23.31, increasing 1.9% from the year prior.

The jobs market has began recovering faster than many economists expected, but now some fear rising energy prices and other headwinds could put a damper on the rate of growth. The unemployment rate peaked in October 2009, and has only slowly moved lower.

Fed funds futures, which are a gauge of expectations of future moves by the central bank, showed the odds of an interest rate hike in early 2014 rise to 60% from 54% before the report. The 10-year Treasury yield rose by 0.03-percentage point to 2.047%.

After months riddled with false starts, misplaced optimism and intense negotiations, Greece finally closed a critical chapter in its debt drama. The country said early on Friday that 83.5% of private creditors agreed to a deal in which they will voluntarily swap their bonds for new ones with a lower face value.

The participation was above expectations, but not enough to prevent the use of so-called "collective action clauses," analysts said. That means that there is still the potential that a technical credit event will be triggered, which may set off certain insurance policies that insure against such moves. Still, most analysts agree that the risk of an imminent default when the country's next debt payment comes due on March 20 is significantly reduced.

The market reaction was fairly muted, with analysts at Nomura saying "much of the positive news was already priced in." However, there was some tightening in yields across other sovereign debt markets, meaning bond traders may see a lower risk of a European sovereign default in larger countries.

Commodities were mixed. The benchmark crude oil contract traded in New York rose 26 cents, or 0.25%, to $106.85 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline fell by 0.1% to $3.311 a gallon.

In metals, gold fell $5.80, or 0.38%, to $1,692 a troy ounce.

Foreign Markets

European blue chips fell 0.13%, the English FTSE 100 dipped 0.1% to 5854 and the German DAX rose 0.21% to 6849.

In Asia, the Japanese Nikkei 225 rallied 1.7% to 9930 and the Chinese Hang Seng jumped 0.89% to 21086.