Stock Futures Hold Ground After Jobs Data

Premarket futures slip off their best levels but continue to indicate that U.S. stocks will open higher, despite the fact that the economy lost 240,000 jobs last month.
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Updated from 6:55 a.m. EST

Premarket futures backed off earlier gains Friday but were still pointing to a higher open for U.S. stocks, even after the release of the worst unemployment reading in more than a decade.

Futures for the

S&P 500

were higher by 4.7 points at 909 and were 5.8 points above fair value.

Nasdaq

futures were gaining 14 points at 1254 and were 11 points ahead of fair value.

Economic data releases continued to point to a dismal downturn. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that October nonfarm payrolls declined by 240,000, worse than analysts' projections of 200,000. The September job-loss figure was revised to 284,000 from 159,000. The unemployment rate came in at 6.5%, its highest reading since 1994 and above economists' estimates of 6.3%.

The Census Bureau's wholesale inventories report for September is due out a bit later, as is the

Federal Reserve's

look at consumer credit.

In terms of corporate news, quarterly earnings statements were still occupying investor attention.

Entertainment giant

Disney

(DIS) - Get Report

reported decreased earnings, in part because of a charge related to debt owed by bankrupt brokerage

Lehman Brothers

. Fellow entertainment firm

Discovery Communications

(DISCA) - Get Report

beat Wall Street estimates on both the top and bottom lines, and offered in-line guidance for its fiscal 2008 revenue.

Construction management firm

Fluor

(FLR) - Get Report

reported a large rise in third-quarter income.

Meanwhile, communication equipment manufacturer

Qualcomm

(QCOM) - Get Report

announced falling profit and lowered its forward outlook.

Automaker

Ford

(F) - Get Report

said it lost $129 million for the third quarter and burned $7.7 million in cash and said it would cut additional jobs.

General Motors

(GM) - Get Report

is also slated to report.

Telecom firm

Sprint Nextel

(S) - Get Report

swung to a third-quarter loss but announced it renegotiated terms of a credit facility and cut its debt levels.

Beyond earnings,

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

CEO Steve Ballmer said that his company doesn't intend to work out a merger deal with

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

, according to a report by

Bloomberg

.

Elsewhere on the merger front,

Panasonic

(PC)

and

Sanyo Electric

announced they were discussing a potential deal.

In commodities, crude oil was gaining 91 cents to $61.68 a barrel. Gold was adding $6.70 to $738.90 an ounce.

Longer-dated U.S. Treasury securities were falling in price. The 10-year note was down 4/32, yielding 3.71%, and the 30-year was lower by 2/32 to yield 4.22%. The dollar was softening vs. its major foreign competitors.

Abroad, European indices such as the FTSE in London and the Dax in Frankfurt were mostly trading higher. Asian exchanges were mixed, as Japan's Nikkei ended down and Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed with gains.