Stock futures held higher on Friday, Nov. 3, as job growth rebounded in October after hurricanes wreaked havoc with the September number.
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were up 0.19%, S&P 500 futures added 0.08%, and Nasdaq futures gained 0.38%.
The U.S. economy added 261,000 jobs in October, according to the Labor Department, a sharp rebound from an anemic gain in payrolls in September. The previous month's number was revised to show an 18,000 increase from an initial reading of a decline of 33,000. September's number was tied to the impact from Hurricane Harvey and Irma in late August and early September.
However, October's headline number was weaker than expected. Economists anticipated 308,000 jobs to have been added to the U.S. economy in October, according to FactSet estimates.
The unemployment rate made a surprise decline to 4.1%, its lowest level since December 2000, following a reading of 4.2% in September. Economists predicted the unemployment rate would hold steady. Hourly pay rose 2.4% year over year, weaker than an expected increase of 2.7%.
Apple Inc. (AAPL - Get Report) led the Dow higher on Friday after better-than-expected fiscal fourth-quarter earnings and upbeat guidance for the coming quarter. A solid forecast tamed any fears that the company might see underwhelming iPhone sales.
On the company's conference call following the release of the results on Thursday, CEO Tim Cook said Apple was "bullish' on the holiday season. "This is going to be the best holiday season yet," Cook said.
Apple forecast sales of between $84 billion and $87 billion for the three months ending in December, the first quarter of its 2018 fiscal year, a figure that came in at the high end of analysts' forecasts and put to rest speculation of production bottleneck and technical snags related to the much-anticipated launch of its iPhone X.
Apple also shifted 46.7 million iPhones over the quarter that ended in September, the company said, topping Wall Street forecasts of 46.4 million, although average selling prices slipped to $618, continuing a declining trend. Still, net income rose 18.8% to $10.71 billion and Apple said it expects gross margins for the first quarter to improve by 5 basis points to 38.5%.
In other earnings news, Starbucks Corp. (SBUX - Get Report) posted fiscal fourth-quarter sales below expectations. Earnings of 55 cents a share were in-line with estimates. Revenue of $5.7 billion missed estimates of $5.8 billion. Global comparable-store sales increased 3% from a year earlier when adjusted for hurricane impact. Analysts had predicted 3.3% same-store growth.
CBS Corp. (CBS - Get Report) was lower on Friday after third-quarter sales missed estimates. Adjusted earnings of $1.11 a share came in 4 cents above estimates, while revenue increased 3% to $3.17 billion but feel short of $3.26 billion consensus. Affiliate and subscription fees rose by 52% over the quarter, partly tied to strong sales for the pay-per-view Mayweather-McGregor boxing match.
Pandora Media Inc. (P) tanked 22% in premarket trading after falling short of sales estimates. Revenue increased 7.5% to $378.6 million, but came in below estimates of $380 million. Net losses widened to 34 cents a share from 27 cents in the year-ago quarter. Adjusted losses of 6 cents a share was slightly narrower than an expected per-share loss of 8 cents.
Earnings of note to be released Friday include Bloomin' Brands Inc. (BLMN - Get Report) , Immunogen Inc. (IMGN - Get Report) , Moody's Corp. (MCO - Get Report) , Potbelly Corp. (PBPB - Get Report) and Sotheby's (BID - Get Report) .
Around 77% of S&P 500 companies have reported earnings so far this reporting season. Of those, 73% have exceeded profit estimates, and 67% have beaten revenue forecasts. Economists anticipate blended earnings growth of 7.7%, or 5.3% excluding energy, according to Thomson Reuters.
In other stock news, Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. (VRX) rallied more than 5% after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved its drug treatment for open angle glaucoma. Vyzulta was developed by Valeant subsidiary Bausch + Lomb and Nicox SA. Valeant CEO Joseph Papa said the company expects to make the treatment available "before the end of the year."
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