Stock Futures Jump as Jobs Data Beat Views

By MarketsFOXBusiness

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U.S. stock-index futures climbed solidly on Friday after a closely-watched report showed the American economy added more jobs than expected last month.

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Today's Markets

As of 8:40 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures climbed 81 points, or 0.5%, to 16498, S&P 500 futures advanced 10 points, or 0.53%, to 1886 and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 17 points, or 0.46%, to 3739.

The Labor Department's monthly reading on the labor market is widely considered to be one of the most important economic indicators. Data have shown the economy has taken a hit from bad weather that swept across the country for the last several months.

Economists at investment banks from Nomura to Goldman Sachs said weather likely restrained hiring in February, especially in industries like construction and manufacturing.

The U.S. economy added 175,000 jobs in February, higher than the 149,000 Wall Street was anticipating, while the data from the previous two months were revised higher. The jobless rate in February climbed 0.1 percentage point to 6.7%, slightly higher than the 6.6% economists expected, while the labor force participation rate remained the same at 63%.

The Commerce Department said the U.S. trade gap rose in January to $39.1 billion, higher than the $39 billion deficit economists expected, and up from $39 billion the month prior. The data are a lagging indicator, but they will figure directly into estimates of first-quarter economic growth.

Elsewhere, U.S. crude oil futures rose 29 cents, or 0.29%, to $101.85 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline dipped 0.13% to $2.94 a gallon. Gold slumped $1.70, or 0.13%, to $1,350 a troy ounce.

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