-- Finally ... it's almost here ... the jobs report for February! Traders have been waiting all week and

Thursday's rally

, which featured the Dow's biggest one-day gain since Dec. 1, has only heightened the anticipation for bulls and bears alike.

Economists are projecting growth in

non-farm payrolls

of 220,000 for February, a big jump from 50,000 in January. John Ryding at RDQ Economics is even more optimistic. He's increased his target to 300,000, and even suggested that without the weather problems that January experienced: "A significantly stronger reading can't be ruled out."

In addition to the headline payrolls number, the market gets wage and hourly earnings data to pore over. Last month wage gains improved, a trend that the bulls are no doubt hoping will continue. With the price of gas going up, workers need raises just to keep them even. Analysts are forecasting a very slight increase in the hours worked with the average week clocking in at 34.3 hours.

Factory orders are due for announcement at 10 a.m. EST. Traders will be paying close attention to the non-durable component of this report, which includes food and tobacco products. It's a fairly consistent number, so any aberrations will be pounced on. Also worth watching is factory inventories. This number is used more as an indicator for upcoming GDP and doesn't usually spark the market.

There are no real market-moving earnings report on the docket. Of interest to New Yorkers,

Madison Square Garden

(MSG) - Get Report

is offering up its results before the opening bell. The stock recently saw a pop on the addition of Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks. Hedge fund titan Barry Rosenstein increased his stake in MSG last quarter. Looks like a good move. The stock is up 14% year to date.

Friday was originally the extension deadline for the Budget resolution but the politicians have bought themselves two more weeks. Republicans and Democrats remain very far apart however. The next big issue is that we're closing in on reaching the federal debt ceiling, an event that some have speculated may come in early April.

And finally, the old GM, or

Motors Liquidation


as it's now known, was in the bankruptcy courtroom in the Southern District of New York on Thursday. It's an ignominious end for what's left of the original company, which was around for 102 years before going under.

According to a


report, the judge has

decided to approve the restructuring plan late Thursday

, meaning certain creditors will get some new


(GM) - Get Report

shares and warrants.

Sadly the former common stockholders are not expected to receive anything. Maybe if they have physical certificates they could frame them?


Written by Debra Borchardt in New York.

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