Futures Rise Alongside Job Growth

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were pointing to a stronger open Friday as the economy added 216,000 jobs in March.

Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up by 67 points, or 64 points above fair value, at 12,319. Futures for the S&P 500 were higher by 7 points, or 7 points above fair value, at 1328, and Nasdaq futures were ahead by 13 points, or 12 points above fair value.

Stocks saw a flat close Thursday as investors refrained from making any big moves ahead of the March jobs report on Friday.

The Labor Department said the U.S. economy added 216,000 jobs in March, surpassing the job growth of 185,000 that economists had been expecting, according to Briefing.com. That compares with February's gains of 194,000. Private payrolls also came in better-than-expected, rising by 230,000 after adding 240,000 in the prior month. Economists had only been expecting private payroll gains of 203,000.

The unemployment rate fell to 8.8%, even though Wall Street expected it to hold steady at 8.9%. The average workweek remained at 34.3 hours, as expected, and hourly earnings showed no change despite forecasts for an uptick of 0.2%.
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Exchange companies Nasdaq OMX ( NDAQ) and IntercontinentalExchange ( ICE) jointly proposed to buy NYSE Euronext ( NYX) for $42.50 in cash and stock, or roughly $11.3 billion. The offer represents a 19% premium over Deutsche Boerse's. Shares of NYSE Euronext were gaining 10.9% to $39 ahead of Friday's opening bell.

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