Stocks May Open Higher On Upbeat Jobs Data

Stocks may move to the upside in early trading on Friday following the release of the monthly jobs report. The major index futures are currently pointing to a higher open for the markets, with the Dow futures up by 56 points.

The upward momentum on Wall Street comes after a closely watched Labor Department report showed employment in the U.S. jumped by much more than anticipated in the month of July.

The Labor Department said non-farm payroll employment surged up by 209,000 jobs in July after spiking by an upwardly revised 231,000 jobs in June.

Economists had expected employment to climb by 183,000 jobs compared to the addition of 222,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

With the stronger than expected job growth, the unemployment rate edged down to 4.3 percent in July from 4.4 percent in June. The modest decrease matched economist estimates.

The report also said average hourly employee earnings were up by 2.5 percent year-over-year in July, unchanged from the previous month.

The data is likely to generate optimism about the economic outlook, although it may also raise concerns about the possibility of future interest rate hikes.

A separate report from the Commerce Department showed the trade deficit narrowed more than expected in June amid rising exports and falling imports.

The report said the trade deficit narrowed to $43.6 billion in June from $46.4 billion in May. Economists had expected the deficit to narrow to $45.0 billion.

Stocks showed a lack of direction during trading on Thursday, extending the lackluster performance seen on Wednesday. Despite the choppy trading, the Dow climbed to another new record closing high.

The major averages ended the day on opposite sides of the unchanged line. While the Dow inched up 9.86 points or less than a tenth of a percent to 22,026.10, the Nasdaq fell 22.30 points or 0.4 percent to 6,340.34 and the S&P 500 dipped 5.41 points or 0.2 percent to 2,472.16.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Friday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index fell by 0.4 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index crept up by 0.1 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets have moved to the upside on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index has risen by 0.2 percent, the German DAX Index is up by 0.4 percent and the French CAC 40 Index is up by 0.7 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are slipping $0.11 to $48.92 a barrel after sliding $0.56 to…

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