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
were higher by 4.7 points at 909 and were 5.8 points above fair value.
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
look at consumer credit.
In terms of corporate news, quarterly earnings statements were still occupying investor attention.
reported decreased earnings, in part because of a charge related to debt owed by bankrupt brokerage
. Fellow entertainment firm
beat Wall Street estimates on both the top and bottom lines, and offered in-line guidance for its fiscal 2008 revenue.
Construction management firm
reported a large rise in third-quarter income.
Meanwhile, communication equipment manufacturer
announced falling profit and lowered its forward outlook.
said it lost $129 million for the third quarter and burned $7.7 million in cash and said it would cut additional jobs.
is also slated to report.
swung to a third-quarter loss but announced it renegotiated terms of a credit facility and cut its debt levels.
CEO Steve Ballmer said that his company doesn't intend to work out a merger deal with
, according to a report by
Elsewhere on the merger front,
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.