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Gains on jobs
November report comes in close to expectations; economists see payroll gains back on track.
December 2, 2005: 8:40 AM EST

NEW YORK ( - Stocks look poised for early lift Friday after the November jobs report came in close to expectations.

U.S. stock futures were up in early trading, indicating a higher opening for stocks.

Employers added 215,000 workers to their payrolls, according to the Labor Department in its monthly report on employment. The report also said the unemployment rate held steady in November at 5 percent.

Economists surveyed by had expected nonfarm payrolls to expand 210,000 in November, with the unemployment rate holding steady at 5 percent.

Hurricane Katrina caused payrolls to shrink for the first time in more than two years in September, and resulted in disappointing job growth of 44,000 jobs to U.S. payrolls last month.

Ford Motor (Research) reportedly is looking to trim its own payrolls, with the Wall Street Journal reporting Friday that the nation's No. 2 automaker plans to trim 7,500 jobs, or roughly 6 percent of the company's total North American work force as it closes three assembly plants an engine plant. Shares of Ford were slightly higher in Frankfurt trading early Friday.

Oil prices were higher in early trading.

The January light crude futures contract for NYMEX gained 57 cents to $59.04 a barrel in electronic trading, while the January contract for Brent crude up 94 cents to $57.09.

Major markets in Asia closed mostly higher Friday, with Japan's Nikkei closing at five-year highs and South Korea's Kospi surging to a record. Major European markets also were higher in early trading.

Treasury prices were lower, lifting the yield on the 10-year note to 4.52 percent from the 4.51 percent level late Friday. The dollar gained ground against the euro and the yen.

In corporate news, financier Carl Icahn reportedly wants to see Time Warner (Research), the world's largest media conglomerate, split into four separate companies, according to a report in the Financial Times. CNN/Money is a unit of Time Warner.

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