Stock Futures Slip as Jobs Report Disappoints

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- U.S. stock futures softened Wednesday after a labor report offered a sobering view on the economic recovery.

Futures for the S&P 500 were up 0.5 points, or 1 point above fair value, to 1,565. The index remains just points away from its all-time intraday high of 1,576.09 set on Oct. 11, 2007. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average were down 3 points, or 2.01 points below fair value, to 14,581. Futures for the Nasdaq were up 2 points, or 1.18 points above fair value, to 2,814.75.

Zynga ( ZNGA) shares were popping 11.4% to $3.41. The company announced Tuesday that it is launching two real-money games in the U.K., "ZyngaPlusPoker" and "ZyngaPlusCasino," as it expands into online gambling to offset a slowdown in its revenue from online social games such as "Farmville" on Facebook ( FB).

Apple ( AAPL) was up 0.47% to $431.81 in premarket trading as the The Wall Street Journal reported that the next iPhone could be launched this summer.

Apple plans to begin producing a refreshed iPhone similar in size and shape to its current one within the next three months, the report said.

Apple also is working on a cheaper iPhone model, the newspaper reported.

The ADP National Employment Report showed that private employers added 158,000 jobs to payrolls in March, down substantially from an upwardly revised 237,000 in February and well below the 200,000 jobs that economists were expecting.

The ADP report is a precursor to the government nonfarm payrolls report for March due out on Friday.

The less-than-expected increase "will no doubt prompt speculation that we're seeing yet another Spring slowdown, particularly coming on the heels of the unexpected drop back in the ISM manufacturing index reported yesterday," Paul Ashworth, the chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics Ltd. in Toronto, wrote in a research note.

The March ISM Non-manufacturing Index report, which tracks monthly changes in the services sector, is expected by economists on Tuesday to say at 10 a.m. that activity slipped to 55.8 in March from 56 February. Services sector growth makes up about 90% of the U.S. economy.

European markets were paring losses Wednesdayafter the International Monetary Fund agreed to contribute €1 billion in financial aid to Cyprus. The DAX in Germany was down 0.02% and the FTSE in London was falling 0.44%.

The Nikkei 225 in Japan closed ahead by 2.99% as its central bank kicked off a two-day day meeting and fueled speculation of aggressive monetary measures. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index settled off 0.14% as worries about new bird flu infections in China overshadowed growth in China's services sector to multi-month highs.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was unchanged at a yield of 1.859%, while the dollar was falling 0.04%, according to the U.S. dollar index.

May crude oil futures were slipping 40 cents to $96.79 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

ConAgra Foods ( CAG) shares were slumping 3.49% to $34.30 after the company said that third-quarter earnings declined 57% despite an increase in revenue.

Tesla Motors ( TSLA) is making the Model S electric car available through a special financing program.

Partnering with Wells Fargo ( WFC) and U.S. Bank ( USB), Tesla said it has created a new kind of financing product "that combines the surety and comfort of ownership with all the advantages of a traditional lease."

Tesla was sliding 2.46% to $43.25.

Vodafone ( VOD), the U.K. cellphone company that owns 45% of Verizon Wireless, was tumbling 3.08% to $28.50 after Verizon Communications ( VZ) denied press speculation it is looking to partner with AT&T ( T) to buy Vodafone.

Written by Andrea Tse in New York

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