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Stock Futures Drop Ahead of Jobs Report

Wall Street appears set to extend its selloff from Thursday, but the direction of trading will likely be heavily influenced by the monthly employment report.

Updated from 8 a.m. EDT

Premarket futures were pointing to a negative open for stocks in New York Friday as traders, concerned over the future of the economy, anticipated a key government report on the U.S. job market.

Futures for the

S&P 500

were down 7.9 points at 1229 and were 8 points below fair value.


futures were down 8 points at 1768 and were 6.5 points short of fair value.

On Thursday, the major indices swooned, each losing at least 3% as several data reports indicated the economy remains weak. A decline in commodity prices over the past week wasn't offering much relief from the gloom, and sellers dramatically outnumbered buyers on both the

New York Stock Exchange

and the



Ahead of the new session, traders were bracing for the Labor Department's unemployment numbers for August. The monthly figure is an important barometer for many investors as they search for a clearer picture of where the slowed economy is headed.

Economists are expecting the jobless rate to remain at its July level of 5.7% and nonfarm payrolls to decline by 75,000, a wider loss than the prior month's drop of 51,000.

In company news, bond fund manager


, part of



, named Mohamed El-Erian as chief executive. El-Erian replaces Bill Thompson, who retires at the end of the year.

Meanwhile, hedge fund

Atticus Capital

refuted rumors it is closing down. Earlier this week, fellow fund

Ospraie Management

shuttered its business after making bad bets on commodities.


General Electric


said it would sell its warranty-management business to insurance company



for $140 million.

Potentially pressuring technology shares was a

Wall Street Journal

report that PC maker



is trying to sell its computer factories in a bid to remain competitive.

As for earnings, video-games maker



said Thursday after the close that it swung to a profit from a year ago and raised guidance. Before Friday's trading gets underway, chipmaker

National Semiconductor


is slated to report.

In commodities, the price of crude oil was falling $1.52 to $106.37. Gold was shedding $3.40 to $799.80.

Longer-dated U.S. Treasury securities were slightly higher. The 10-year was up 6/32 to yield 3.6%, and the 30-year was up 7/32, yielding 4.25%. The dollar was gaining on the euro and pound, but softening vs. the yen.

Major foreign exchanges, including the FTSE in London, the Dax in Frankfurt, the Nikkei in Japan and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong, were lower.