Stock Futures Climb After Strong Jobs Numbers

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stock futures were pointing to another day of impressive gains on Wall Street Friday, as investors cheered stronger-than-expected February jobs numbers and a fall in the jobless rate.

Futures for the Dow were rising 67 points, or 86.51 points above fair value, at 14,323. Futures for the S&P 500 were up 6.5 points, or 7.79 points above fair value, at 1544.25. Futures for the Nasdaq were ahead by 11 points, 14.51 points above fair value, at 2806.

The Dow booked a third-consecutive all-time closing high on Thursday.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday that nonfarm payrolls increased by 236,000 in February after rising by a downwardly revised 119,000 in January. Expectations were for a rise to 160,000.

The unemployment rate edged down to 7.7% in February; economists were expecting the rate to stay at 7.9%.

Private nonfarm payrolls rose by 246,000 after increasing by 166,000 jobs in January. Economists were predicting a rise of 167,000.

The Census Bureau is forecast to say that wholesale inventories rose 0.2% in January after declining 0.1% in December. The report is due at 10 a.m.

Gold for April delivery was rising $2.20 to $1,577.30 an ounce at the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, while April crude oil futures were up a penny to $91.57 a barrel.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was falling by 3/32, raising the yield to 2.015%. The dollar was up 0.08%, according to the U.S. dollar index.

The FTSE 100 in London was adding 0.46% and the DAX in Germany was rising 0.63%.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index closed up 1.41% after China reported a surprise trade surplus in February despite the Chinese Lunar New Year holidays.

Japan's Nikkei finished ahead by 2.64% on the back of Thursday's upbeat U.S. data and the Bank of Japan's improved economic outlook.

In corporate news, Ann Inc. ( ANN) provided a first-quarter sales outlook of $600 million, ahead of analysts' expectations of $593.31 million.

The retailer posted fourth-quarter earnings of 5 cents a share on sales of $607.7 million versus the consensus target of earnings of 1 cent a share on sales of $617.8 million. Shares were popping more than 8.5%.

McDonald's ( MCD) said global comparable-store sales rose 1.7% in February, excluding a negative calendar shift as February 2012 included an extra day because it was a leap year. Shares were rising nearly 1%.

Foot Locker ( FL) posted fourth-quarter earnings of 73 cents a share, as expected. Revenue came in at $1.71 billion, compared with expectations of $1.69 billion. Shares were slumping more than 3.5%.

Pandora Media's ( P) fourth-quarter results beat Wall Street estimates, led by a huge jump in revenue. Pandora also announced that Chairman and CEO Joe Kennedy would be stepping down, but would remain CEO until a successor is found. Shares were surging 26% in premarket trading.

Texas Instruments ( TXN) narrowed its first-quarter outlook to the higher end of its prior estimates. Shares were flat.

Google's ( GOOG) Motorola Mobility hardware unit has begun laying off about 1,200 employees, or more than 10% of its headcount, according to a company email reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. Shares of Google were up incrementally.

Private-equity firm KKR ( KKR) reached a deal to buy Gardner Denver ( GDI), the industrial-pumps manufacturer, for $76 a share, a report said. Gardner shares were rising more than 1% and KKR shares were up 1.6%.

KKR and Gardner Denver are expected to make the announcement as soon as Friday, a person familiar with the matter told the Journal.

-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Andrea Tse.

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