U.S. Stocks May See Initial Strength On Upbeat Jobs Data

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After pointing to a lower open earlier this morning, the U.S. stock futures have turned positive following the release of upbeat jobs data. The futures are currently pointing to a modestly higher open for the markets, with the S&P 500 futures up by 0.2 percent.

Early buying interest may be generated in reaction to a closely watched report from the Labor Department showing stronger than expected job growth in the month of April.

The report showed non-farm payroll employment surged by 428,000 jobs in April, matching the revised jump seen in March.

Economists had expected employment to climb by 391,000 jobs compared to the addition of 431,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.

Meanwhile, the Labor Department said the unemployment rate came in unchanged at 3.6 percent versus expectations the rate would edge down to 3.5 percent.

The bigger than expected increase in employment may still generate optimism the economy will be able to withstand the series of interest rate hikes planned by the Federal Reserve.

Some traders may also look to pick up stocks at reduced levels following the sharp pullback seen in the previous session.

Following the rally seen going into the close of Wednesday's trading, stocks showed a substantial move back to the downside on Thursday. The major averages more than offset Wednesday's gains, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq plunging to its lowest closing level in well over a year.

The major averages climbed off their worst levels in late-day trading but still posted steep losses. The Dow dove 1,063.09 points or 3.1 percent to 32,997.97, the Nasdaq plummeted 647.16 points or 5 percent to 12,317.69 and the S&P 500 tumbled 153.30 points or 3.6 percent to 4,146.87.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Friday. China's Shanghai Composite Index slumped by 2.2 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index plunged by 3.8 percent, although Japan's Nikkei 225 Index bucked the uptrend and rose by 0.7 percent.

The major European markets have also moved to the downside on the day. While the German DAX Index is down by 1.2 percent, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index and the French CAC 40 Index are both down by 0.9 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are jumping $1.39 to $109.65 a barrel after rising $0.45 to $108.26 a barrel on Thursday. Meanwhile, after edging up $6.90 to $1,875.70 an ounce in the previous session, gold futures are climbing $11to $1,886.70 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 130.39 yen versus the 130.20 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Thursday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.0578 compared to yesterday's $1.0542.

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