U.S. Stocks May Open Higher Despite Weaker Than Expected Jobs Data

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Following the pullback seen late in the previous session, stocks are likely to move back to the upside in early trading on Friday. The major index futures are currently pointing to a higher open for the markets, with the Dow futures up by 115 points.

The futures have held on to earlier gains despite the release of a report from the Labor Department showing much weaker than expected job growth in the month of November.

The Labor Department said non-farm payroll employment rose by 245,000 jobs in November after jumping by a downwardly revised 610,000 jobs in October.

Economists had expected employment to increase by 469,000 jobs compared to the addition of 638,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

Despite the weaker than expected job growth, the unemployment rate dipped to 6.7 percent in November from 6.9 percent in October. The unemployment rate was expected to edge down to 6.8 percent.

Continued optimism about coronavirus vaccines may be helping traders shrug off the disappointing jobs data, as the slowdown in job growth came amid the recent surge in new cases and subsequent restrictions.

Traders may also be hoping that the weaker than expected job growth will spur lawmakers in Washington to finally pass a new fiscal stimulus bill.

In other economic news, a report released by the Commerce Department showed the U.S. trade deficit widened in the month of October.

The report said the trade deficit widened to $63.1 billion in October from a revised $62.1 billion in September. Economists had expected the deficit to widen to $64.8 billion from the $63.9 billion originally reported for the previous month.

Not long after the start of trading, the Commerce Department is scheduled to release its report on new orders for manufactured goods in the month of October. Factory orders are expected to increase by 0.8 percent.

After seeing strength for much of the session, stocks came under pressure going into the close of trading on Thursday. The major averages pulled back well off their highs, with the S&P 500 sliding into negative territory.

The S&P 500 edged down 2.29 points 0.1 percent to 3,666.72 after reaching a record intraday high, while the Dow rose 85.73 points or 0.3 percent to 29,969.52 and the Nasdaq edged up 27.82 points or 0.2 percent to a new record closing high of 12,377.18.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Friday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index dipped by 0.2 percent, while China's Shanghai Composite Index inched up by 0.1 percent.

Meanwhile, European stocks have moved mostly higher on the day, although the German DAX Index has bucked the uptrend and edged down by 0.1 percent. The French CAC 40 Index is up by 0.2 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.6 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are climbing $0.45 to $46.09 a barrel after rising $0.36 to $45.64 a barrel on Thursday. Meanwhile, after advancing $10.90 to $1,841.10 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are edging up $4.10 to $1,845.20 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 103.99 yen versus the 103.84 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Thursday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.2147 compared to yesterday's $1.2144.

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