Stock Futures Hold Ground After Jobs Data

Premarket futures were indicating a higher open for stocks on Wall Street Friday, as corporate earnings took center stage and investors awaited the Bureau of Labor Statistics' October unemployment number.

Futures for the S&P 500 were higher by 20 points at 924 and were 21 above fair value. Nasdaq futures were gaining 30 points at 1271 and were 28 ahead of fair value.

On Thursday, stocks sold off as bearish economic data, dismal corporate earnings statements and slumping retail sales hurt investor sentiment.

Quarterly earnings statements were still occupying investor attention.

Following Thursday's close, entertainment giant Disney ( DIS) reported decreased earnings, in part because of a charge related to debt owed by bankrupt brokerage Lehman Brothers.

Construction management firm Fluor ( FLR) announced a large rise in third-quarter income.

Meanwhile, communication equipment manufacturer Qualcomm ( QCOM) announced falling profit and lowered its forward outlook.

Ahead of Friday's trading, investors were girding themselves for quarterly results from automakers Ford ( F) and General Motors ( GM), entertainment company Discovery Communications ( DISCA), and telecom firm Sprint Nextel ( S).

Beyond earnings, Microsoft ( MSFT) CEO Steve Ballmer said that his company doesn't intend to work out a merger deal with Yahoo! ( YHOO), according to a report by Bloomberg.

Elsewhere on the merger front, Panasonic ( PC) and Sanyo Electric announced they were discussing a potential deal.

In terms of economic data, the Bureau of Labor Statistics is slated to release its October nonfarm payrolls numbers. Also on tap is the Census Bureau's wholesale inventories report for September, along with the Federal Reserve's look at consumer credit.

In commodities, crude oil was gaining $1.43 to $62.20 a barrel. Gold was adding $9.90 to $742.10 an ounce.

Longer-dated U.S. Treasury securities were mixed. The 10-year note was flat in price, yielding 3.69%, and the 30-year was adding 2/32 to yield 4.10%. The dollar was softening vs. its major foreign competitors.

European stock indices, such as the FTSE in London and the DAX in Frankfurt, were working their way higher. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei closed on the downside, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng finished with gains.

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