Stocks were flat to lower early Friday as investors braced for a February jobless report where risk might outweigh the potential reward. Index futures recently showed the S&P 500 trading at fair value, while the Nasdaq 100 was set for a 3-point decline. The 10-year Treasury bond was down 4/32 in price to yield 4.74%, while the dollar rose against the euro and fell against the yen. At 8:30 a.m. EST, the Labor Department is expected to say that the U.S. economy added 210,000 jobs last month, while the unemployment rate held steady at 4.7%. Bond yields have been steadily rising in the runup to the data as traders fret that too many new jobs will force the Federal Reserve to keep raising rates. A jobs shortfall, conversely, could be interpreted badly by stock traders worried about earnings growth over the next several quarters. The market will also be closely watching the average hourly wage component of the report, which is expected to show a 0.3% increase. Oil was marginally higher after rising 43 cents on Thursday amid a rally in gasoline prices. In electronic Nymex trading, April crude was recently up 13 cents to $60.60 a barrel. Overseas markets were mostly lower, with London's FTSE 100 recently falling 0.1% to 5852 and Germany's Xetra DAX losing 0.3% to 5716. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei rose 0.5% overnight to 16,116, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.4% to 15,445. Among stocks, telecom supplier Adtran ( ADTN) lowered guidance, citing weak bookings. Excluding items, Adtran expects to earn 21 cents to 24 cents a share in the quarter, well short of the 31-cent analyst consensus. AnnTaylor ( ANN) swung to a fourth-quarter profit of $27.4 million, or 38 cents a share, on an 18% jump in revenue. Adjusted earnings of 43 cents a share were 3 cents better than expected. To view David Peltier's video take on today's premarket action,
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A group including Televisa ( TV), billionaire Gustavo Cisneros and two private equity firms has emerged as a likely bidder for Univision ( UVN), sources told TheStreet.com. The bidding is still in early stages and other suitors are expected. DreamWorks ( DWA) fourth-quarter earnings fell 67% from a year ago as the animation studio took a writedown on its latest Wallace & Gromit title. Revenue fell to $172.9 million from $496 million. Storage company McData ( MCDTA) swung to a fourth-quarter profit of 3 cents a share and said revenue rose 72% to $181.8 million. Excluding items, McData earned 8 cents a share, 2 cents better than expected.