Stocks: Breathing a sigh of job relief

August 5, 2011: 9:09 AM ET
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NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- U.S. stocks were poised for a higher open Friday, following a much better-than-expected monthly jobs report.

After hovering in the red for most of the premarket session Friday, Dow Jones industrial average (INDU), S&P 500 (SPX) and Nasdaq (COMP) futures turned 1% higher immediately after the report's release. Futures measure current index values against perceived future performance.

The turn in futures comes as welcome relief for investors, who have been beaten down over the past few weeks.

Stocks plunged Thursday, with the Dow tumbling 512 points -- its steepest point loss since October 2008 -- as fear about the global economy spooked investors. All three major indexes erased all their gains for the year, and pushed into "correction" territory -- defined as a 10% drop from recent highs.

The Fed can't (and shouldn't) save the day

Concerns about a global slowdown remain at the forefront of investors' minds, but the July jobs report is finally a offering some good news amid all the recent weak economic reports.

"The jobs report gives investors a bit of positive news, ending what's been a negative stream for the past few days," said Fred Dickson, chief market strategist at D.A. Davidson & Co. "But the big question is whether an early morning rally will be sustainable, in light of the lack of positive news out of Europe."

The government report showed that the economy gained 117,000 jobs in July. Economists surveyed by CNNMoney were expecting an increase of 75,000 jobs. The June reading was also revised higher to show an addition of 46,000 jobs, up from an initial figure of 18,000.

The unemployment rate also ticked down to 9.1%, surprising economist who had expected the rate to hold steady at 9.2%.

World markets: European stocks turned mixed Friday, following the jobs report. Earlier, Wall Street's broad and painful sell-off the previous session weighed on the global indexes.

In afternoon trading, Britain's FTSE 100 (UKX) fell 1% and the DAX (DAX) in Germany slipped 0.7%, while France's CAC 40 (CAC40) edged slightly higher.

Asian markets ended the session deep in the red. The Shanghai Composite (SHCOMP) lost 2.2%, the Hang Seng (HSI) in Hong Kong plunged 4.3% and Japan's Nikkei (N225) lost 3.7%.

Economy: Late Friday afternoon, the Federal Reserve will release its June consumer credit report. Economists are expecting consumer credit to decrease by an annual rate of 1.5%.

Currencies and currencies: The dollar lost ground against the euro, the Japanese yen and British pound.

The greenback rose for a third straight session against the Swiss franc, following the Swiss National Bank's intervention in the currency market earlier this week.

Gold futures for December delivery fell $2.00 to $1,657.00 an ounce Friday, while oil for September delivery fell 13 cents to 86.50 a barrel.

Bonds: The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury fell, pushing the yield up to 2.48% from 2.46% late Thursday.

Companies: Investors also have corporate results to digest Friday.

Shares of Procter & Gamble (PG, Fortune 500) rose 1.5%, after the Dow component posted earnings and sales that were ahead of expectations. The company also warned that results for the current quarter would fall short of estimates.

Media giant Viacom (VIA) also beat forecasts, with a quarterly profit that rose 37% from a year ago and sales 15% higher.  To top of page

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,408.54 -16.31 -0.10%
Nasdaq 4,095.52 9.29 0.23%
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Micron Technology In... 23.91 0.00 0.00%
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