Updated from 8:02 a.m. EDT
Wall Street was headed for a higher open Friday as the Labor Department's official employment numbers for April, while showing a decline, weren't nearly as bad as economists had feared.
futures and Nasdaq 100 futures jumped on the news, and both were roughly 15 points ahead of fair value, indicating a likely climb for the major averages when trading begins.
Nonfarm payrolls data for last month showed that the U.S. economy shed 20,000 workers, whereas a
survey predicted the number would be more around 75,000. Earlier this week, the ADP's figures showed a better-than-expected climb of 10,000 jobs last month.
The unemployment rate unexpectedly improved slightly, falling to 5% from 5.1% the prior month. Meanwhile, revisions were minor for February and March, with only an additional 1,000 jobs lost.
Following the data, the U.S. dollar rose against its major counterparts, and Treasury securities sold off.
Also lending support to stock futures was word that the
would boost its term auction facility to $150 billion from $100 billion previously, a move that makes more funding available for financial institutions.
Later, March factory orders from the Commerce Department are due.
On the corporate front,
( JAVA) plunged 16.1% after the server maker
swung to a $34 million loss
in the fiscal third quarter and issued soft sales guidance for the current one, blaming tough economic conditions.
Staying in the tech space,
The Wall Street Journal
, which for three months has been attempting to pressure
to accept its stock-and-cash takeout bid, may go hostile and appeal directly to Yahoo! shareholders as early as today, citing people familiar with the matter. The paper also said, however, that Microsoft could well change its tune before making its announcement.
Back in earnings,
, which owns MTV and other media properties, said first-quarter revenue was up 15% to $3.12 billion, partly thanks to strong sales of the Rock Band music-video game. The company's adjusted profit of 44 cents a share topped analyst predictions.
said shriveling investments dragged its first-quarter profit down 37%, even as operating earnings topped the consensus.
Automatic Data Processing
came in ahead of estimates as income climbed 6% to $413.6 million, but its 2008 profit-growth outlook strayed to the lower end of analyst targets.
Elsewhere, engineering-and-construction concern
more than tripled its first-quarter earnings to $98 million, or 58 cents a share, handily beating the 34-cent analyst consensus from Thomson Financial. Revenue surged to a better-than-anticipated $2.52 billion.
posted a 20% profit drop, falling
a penny short
of per-share analyst projections. Revenue was better than expected, but the stock still shed 2.5%.
Last time out, stocks soared, with the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
leaping 190 points to 13,010 and the S&P 500 up 24 points to 1409. The
climbed 68 points at 2481.
Among commodities, crude oil was up 58 cents to $113.10 a barrel, and gold futures climbed $3.10 to $854 an ounce.
Markets abroad were tracking higher. In Asia, Tokyo's Nikkei 225 climbed 2.1%, and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong tacked on 1.9%. As for Europe, the FTSE 100 in London, Germany's Xetra Dax and the Paris Cac were all rising 1% or more.