Updated from 6:53 a.m. EDT

Premarket futures were forecasting a higher open for stocks on Wall Street Friday ahead of a hotly anticipated vote on the Treasury Department's rescue package for financial firms.

Futures for the

S&P 500

were up 4.6 points at 1129 and were 11 points ahead of fair value.

Nasdaq

futures were even at 1511 and were 8.4 points above fair value.

On Thursday, stocks finished with sharp losses as traders digested some bearish economic data and waited for signs that a $700 billion

bailout package

for the financial sector would pass the House of Representatives. The bill, slated to go to vote Friday, is expected to pass the House by a narrow margin.

As investors awaited legislative aid,

Wachovia

(WB) - Get Report

announced it has agreed to be sold to

Wells Fargo

(WFC) - Get Report

in a $15.1 billion deal that

Wells Fargo

says will not require assistance from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. or any other government agency. The deal seems to negate another deal brokered by the FDIC Monday under which

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

agreed to acquire all of the banking subsidiaries of Wachovia.

Swiss bank

UBS

(UBS) - Get Report

said it would cut 2,000 jobs as part of its reorganization efforts.

Meanwhile, several media reports suggested that Japanese firm

Mitsubishi UFJ

may

merge its investment banking unit with Morgan Stanley

(MS) - Get Report

operations in Japan.

The Wall Street Journal

reported that

Washington Mutual CEO Alan Fishman

won't stay on at

JPMorgan Chase

(JPM) - Get Report

, which acquired WaMu after it failed on Sept. 25.

In other board shakeups, mortgage packager

Fannie Mae

( FNM) announced that former

CEO Daniel Mudd

will not be keeping his seat on Fannie's board.

Elsewhere, private equity firm

Blackstone

(BX) - Get Report

bought a $600 million stake in

China National BlueStar

, according to a report by

Bloomberg

.

In the technology arena,

Hewlett-Packard

(HPQ) - Get Report

may, according to a report in the

Journal

, be gearing up to release a

smartphone

.

As for economic data, the Department of Labor reported that the September unemployment rate remained at 6.1%, the same rate as in August and nonfarm payrolls decreased by 159,000, the largest drop since March 2003 and twice the decline feared by economists. The average work week declined to 33.6 hours from 33.7 in August. September services numbers from the Institute for Supply Management are due later this morning.

In commodities, crude oil was down 9 cents to $93.88. Gold was up $3.90 to $848.20.

Longer-dated U.S. Treasury securities were mixed. The 10-year was shedding 3/32 to yield 3.64%, and the 30-year was gaining 20/32, yielding 4.12%. The dollar was softening vs. the yen and edging higher against the euro and pound.

Across the seas, European exchanges, such as London's FTSE and Frankfurt's DAX, were largely trading lower.

Asian indices

like the Nikkei in Japan and Hong Kong's Hang Seng, meanwhile, closed with losses.