NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Stock futures found some support Friday as investors cheered a jump in private sector employment, offsetting a big surprise drop in the overall jobs figure for September.
Dow Jones industrial average (INDU), S&P 500 (SPX) and Nasdaq (COMP) futures were wavering ahead of the opening bell. Immediately after the report, futures turned sharply lower but the increase in private sector jobs more than offset the declines, with stock futures recovering. Futures measure current index values against perceived future performance.
With unemployment figures remaining one of the defining measures of the recovery, the Labor Department's monthly jobs report has been a major market mover all year.
The economy lost 95,000 jobs in September, the government said, though the private sector added 64,000 jobs. The unemployment remained unchanged at 9.6%.
"The headline number was clearly disappointing, but the change in private payrolls is much better than expectations," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Jefferies & Co.
Hogan said the overall job loss number sparked a "kneejerk reaction" that was negative, but as investors have time to digest the news, they will recognize that the report has positive aspect, like the gain in private payrolls and unchanged unemployment rate.
"I think the more you look into it, the more you're going to like," he said. "There's more good news than bad news in here and I think the market will react positively."
Stocks have rallied lately, hitting five-month highs earlier this week.
Some of the bullishness is being driven by the Fed and the belief by investors that the central bank will move to stimulate the economy with another dose of Treasury purchases -- a policy referred to as quantitative easing.
Economy: Investors will also watch for a report on wholesale inventories, due from the Commerce Department at 10 a.m. ET.
Companies: After the bell Thursday, Investors welcomed strong earnings from Alcoa -- the first of the Dow components to report third quarter results.
The aluminum giant earned 9 cents per share -- excluding special items -- topping Wall Street's estimates for 5 cents per share. Sales rose 15% to $5.3 billion, beating forecasts for $4.96 billion in revenue.
World markets: European stocks fell in morning trading. Britain's FTSE 100 , France's CAC 40 and the DAX in Germany all fell less than 1%.
Asian markets finished the session mixed. Japan's Nikkei index fell nearly 1% and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong rose 0.3%. Coming back from a week-long holiday, China's Shanghai Composite soared 3.1% after Moody's said it may raise the nation's debt rating.
Gold futures for December delivery could be headed for another record, compared to its historic close of $1,335 an ounce. Prices rose $7.80 an ounce to $1,342.90 an ounce.
The price of crude oil for November delivery fell 30 cents to $81.34 per barrel.
Bonds: The price fell on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury, pushing up the yield to 2.42%.
|Overnight Avg Rate||Latest||Change||Last Week|
|30 yr fixed||3.65%||3.65%|
|15 yr fixed||2.80%||2.78%|
|30 yr refi||3.64%||3.63%|
|15 yr refi||2.79%||2.78%|
Today's featured rates:
Microsoft is making a bid to own the living room with its new entertainment device. More
Only a tiny fraction of small businesses must comply with new Obamacare rules. And most of them are already providing insurance to employees. More
The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced a series of aid programs available to tornado victims who live in one of the Oklahoma counties declared a disaster area by President Obama. More