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U.S. Stocks May Open Higher Following Monthly Jobs Report

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Following the release of the Labor Department's closely watched monthly jobs report, stocks appear poised to extend their recent upward trend 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 131 points.

Stocks are likely to add to their recent gains after the Labor Department report showed a modest rebound in employment in the month of January.

The report said non-farm payroll employment edged up by 49,000 jobs in January after plunging by a revised 227,000 jobs in December.

Economists had expected employment to rise by about 50,000 jobs following the loss of 140,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

Traders may see the uptick in employment as a goldilocks situation, as the modest increase offsets concerns of a prolonged slump but also suggests the economy could benefit from more fiscal stimulus.

The Labor Department also said the unemployment rate slid to 6.3 percent in January from 6.7 percent in December. The unemployment rate was expected to come in unchanged.

The markets may also benefit from more upbeat news on the earnings front, with Ford (F), Estée Lauder (EL), Regeneron (REGN) and Gilead Sciences (GILD) seeing pre-market strength after reporting their quarterly results.

Buying interest could also be generated in reaction to news that Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) has applied for an emergency use authorization from the FDA for its single-dose coronavirus vaccine.

Stocks showed a strong move to the upside during trading on Thursday, extending the rally seen earlier in the week. With the upward move on the day, the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 ended the session at new record closing highs.

The major averages saw further upside going into the close, ending the session at their best levels of the day. The Dow surged up 332.26 points or 1.1 percent to 31,055.86, the Nasdaq jumped 167.20 points or 1.2 percent to 13,777.74 and the S&P 500 shot up 41.57 points or 1.1 percent to 3,871.74.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly higher during trading on Friday. Japan's Nikkei 225 Index spiked by 1.5 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index climbed by 0.6 percent.

The major European markets have also moved to the upside on the day. While the French CAC 40 Index has surged up by 1.1 percent, the German DAX Index is up by 0.3 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index is up by 0.1 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are rising $0.43 to $56.66 a barrel after climbing $0.54 to $56.23 a barrel on Thursday. Meanwhile, after plummeting $43.90 to $1,791.20 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are jumping $12.30 to $1,803.50 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 105.53 yen versus the 105.54 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Thursday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.1999 compared to yesterday's $1.1964.

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