NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures were pointing to a higher start for Wall Street Friday ahead of the January jobs report. European stocks were rising while Asian shares ended the trading session mixed. Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose 0.5% as the yen fell against the dollar. The economic calendar in the U.S. Friday includes the nonfarm payrolls report for January at 8:30 am. EST. Payrolls are expected by economists to have risen by 160,000 last month after rising 155,000 in December, according to a Reuters survey. The unemployment rate is expected to have remained at 7.8% for a third straight month, Reuters said. The University of Michigan final January consumer sentiment index is scheduled for release at 9:55 a.m. The Commerce Department will release construction spending data for December at 10 a.m. U.S. stocks on Thursday posted losses as doubts about the strength of the U.S. economy weighed on the minds of investors. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 50 points, or 0.4%, to 13,861. Despite the decline Thursday, the Dow had its best January since 1994 by finishing 5.8% higher for the month. The S&P 500 declined down 4 points, or 0.3%, to 1,498. The Nasdaq lost 0.18 of a point to finish at 3,142. Exxon Mobil ( XOM), the world's biggest oil company, is expected by analysts Friday to report fourth-quarter earnings of $2 a share on revenue of $117.25 billion. Wall Street analysts expect Chevron ( CVX) to post fourth-quarter earnings of $3.04 a share on revenue of $68.64 billion. Dell ( DELL), the PC maker, is close to an agreement to sell itself to a buyout group led by founder and CEO Michael Dell and private-equity firm Silver Lake Partners, Reuters reported, citing two people familiar with the matter. A deal could possibly be announced as soon as Monday, Reuters reported. Union leaders representing about 23,000 engineers at Boeing voted Thursday to put a strike authorization question on a ballot that will go to members next week, Reuters reported. Drugmaker Merck ( MRK) is expected by analysts to post earnings of 81 cents a share in the fourth quarter on revenue of $11.48 billion. The Justice Department filed a lawsuit Thursday to stop Budweiser maker Anheuser-Busch InBev's ( BUD) proposed $20.1 billion purchase of Grupo Modelo, which owns Corona. The government said the deal could lead to higher beer prices in the U.S. because it would substantially reduce competition. -- Written by Joseph Woelfel >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Joseph Woelfel >To submit a news tip, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.