Stock index futures moved higher as the U.S. reported this morning better-than-expected job growth figures for October, pointing to a higher start for North American markets.
U.S. nonfarm payrolls rose 171,000, well ahead of the 125,000 jobs that economists were expecting. The unemployment rate edged up to 7.9 per cent, as forecast.
It's the last important economic reading before the U.S. Presidential election. The relatively strong number may help bolster President Barack Obama's re-election odds but opponent Mitt Romney has already called the jobs data "a sad reminder" of the sluggish economy.
The news helped crude oil to come off its earlier lows, but it pressured gold as the U.S. dollar ticked higher. The precious metal tends to move inversely to the greenback.
The Canadian jobs report was rather underwhelming. The country's employers added 1,800 jobs in October, less than the 10,000 new positions economists had been expecting. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 7.4 per cent. Still, the loonie ticked up modestly after the data.
European markets gained upward traction after the U.S. jobs report. News overnight there wasn't particularly encouraging, with euro zone manufacturing shrinking for the 15th month running in October, as output and new orders fell. Asian markets rallied sharply overnight, spurred by more than 1 per cent gains in the Dow Jones industrial average and S&P 500 on Thursday.
There are some big gainers in premarket trading this morning in some familiar U.S. names: Starbucks, LinkedIn and Priceline. All had positive things to say in earnings reports late Thursday and are soaring about 10 per cent.
Now, here's the rundown of what's going on this morning and what to watch out for:
Futures: Dow +0.3 per cent, S&P 500 +0.5 per cent, Nasdaq +0.3 per cent
Hong Kong's Hang Seng index +1.32 per cent
Shanghai composite index +0.60 per cent
Japan’s Nikkei +1.16 per cent
London’s FTSE 100 +0.43 per cent
Germany’s DAX +0.67 per cent
France's CAC 40 +0.68 per cent
WTI (Nymex Dec) -0.40 per cent at $86.74 (U.S.) a barrel
Gold (Comex Dec) -1.04 per cent at $1,697.70 (U.S.) an ounce
Copper (Comex Dec) -0.70 per cent at $3.53 (U.S.) a pound
Canadian dollar up 0.002, or 0.2 per cent, at 1.006 (U.S.)
STOCKS AND ECONOMIC INDICATORS TO WATCH:
Statistics Canada said only 1,800 jobs were created in October from September, as the jobless rate remain unchanged at 7.4 per cent. Economists had expected payrolls to increase by 10,000 jobs.
The U.S. Labour Department said nonfarm payrolls in October rose by 171,000, stronger than the 125,000 jobs that were forecast by economists. The unemployment rate was 7.9 per cent, as expected, and up from 7.8 per cent the previous month.
(1000 a.m. ET) U.S. releases factory orders for September. Economists expect a 4.9 per cent rise, following a 5.2 per cent dip the previous month due to a massive drop in aircraft orders.
Starbucks Corp. said late Thursday it was raising its quarterly dividend by 24 per cent as it modestly hiked its 2013 earnings guidance. Shares are surging 8 per cent in the premarket.
Priceline.com Inc. said late Thursday that fourth-quarter revenue would rise 15 per cent to 22 per cent from last year. Shares are up 11 per cent in the premarket.
LinkedIn Corp. beat Wall Street’s third-quarter profit and revenue targets on Thursday and raised its full-year revenue forecast. Shares are up 9 per cent in the premarket.
Inmet Mining Corp. said sales rose 29 per cent in the third quarter as net income rose 19 per cent.
Research In Motion Ltd. is up close to 2 per cent in premarket trading after gaining 10 per cent on Thursday on optimism its new BlackBerry 10 software will help pull the company out of its slump.
Earnings scheduled include: Thomson Reuters; Brookfield Office Properties Inc.; Chevron Corp.; Cogeco Inc.; SNC Lavalin Group Inc.; Second Cup Ltd.; Washington Post Co.
THIS MORNING'S TOP INVESTING READS ON THE WEB:
While investment strategists in the U.S. view a Republican victory as positive for the stock market given their presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s pro-business policies, market players in Asia believe a win for the former Massachusetts Governor would in fact be negative for equities on their side of the world.
Trillions of dollars of stock certificates are feared ruined after Hurricane Sandy flooded a vault at the Depository Trust & Clearing Corp, the Wall Street-owned organization that manages important parts of the U.S. trading infrastructure.
Why George Lucas's decision to sell his film company to Disney was a savvy move.
Pimco's Bill Gross said recent U.S. policies are not generating the kind of growth needed to kick-start the economy and may usher in "disruptive financial markets" in the future.
Why the market euphoria over the Chinese PMI data might be overdone.
For instant headlines on breaking economic and corporate news in the premarket, follow Darcy Keith on Twitter at @eyeonequities