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) -- Jobs data is expected to dominate Friday's session, with little else to draw investors' attention away from the government's latest monthly nonfarm payrolls report.

The Labor Department report, due Friday at 8:30 a.m. EST, should show that the U.S. economy added 13,000 jobs in January, according to a


poll of economists. That would be an improvement from the 85,000 jobs lost in December. The unemployment rate should remain unchanged at 10%, according to the poll.

On Wednesday,

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offered a preview to the government's own report. The January ADP report showed that the private sector lost 22,000 jobs in January, which was an improvement from the revised December number of losses totaling 61,000.

"In the employment report, key sectors to watch for signs of a strengthening economic activity are manufacturing, retail sales, and construction," Peter Morici, a professor at the University of Maryland's Smith School of Business and a former chief economist at the U.S. International Trade Commission, wrote in an email.

"Although some indicators of economic activity, such as

gross domestic product, industrial production and consumer confidence, have shown gains, others such as retail sales and durable goods orders have been soft," Morici added. His forecast is for loss in the range of 25,000 jobs and for unemployment to rise to 10.1%.

Investors will also be watching for a handful of earnings reports, with



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among many others, set to report quarterly results before the start of trading.

-- Written by Robert Holmes in Boston


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