Stocks: All about jobs

@CNNMoneyInvest January 6, 2012: 9:13 AM ET
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NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- U.S. stocks were headed for a higher open Friday, following a stronger-than-expected jobs report.

The U.S. economy gained 200,000 jobs in December, according to the Labor Department. Economist had expected a gain of 150,000 jobs. The unemployment rate also slipped to 8.5%.

Stock futures, which were slightly higher before the report, built on those gains.

Dow Jones industrial average (INDU), S&P 500 (SPX) and Nasdaq (COMP) futures were up about 0.4% in premarket trading. Stock futures indicate the possible direction of the markets when they open at 9:30 a.m. ET.

"The markets have had a more positive tone this week, and investors seem to be looking for an excuse to take the markets higher," said Bruce McCain, chief investment strategist at Key Private Bank.

Europe's debt crisis: 'No clear end in sight'

Stocks are coming off of a mixed close Thursday, as investors weighed fears about Europe's debt crisis against upbeat reports on the U.S. economy.

Economy: In addition to the stronger jobs numbers, the unemployment rate fell more than expected, sliding to 8.5% in December.

Economists were forecasting the unemployment rate to tick up to 8.7% from 8.6% in November, mainly due to discouraged workers -- who had previously given up their job searches -- re-entering the labor force.

World markets: European stocks rose in midday trading. Britain's FTSE 100 (UKX) edged higher 0.8% and France's CAC 40 (CAC40) rose 0.9%, while the DAX (DAX) in Germany gained 0.6%.

Asian markets ended mixed. The Shanghai Composite (SHCOMP) gained 0.7%, while the Hang Seng (HSI) in Hong Kong lost 1.2% and Japan's Nikkei (N225) fell 1.2%.

Companies: Shares of Dow component Alcoa (AA, Fortune 500) fell more than 2% in premarket trading, after the aluminum producer said it will cuts its global smelting capacity 12% in response to a drop in aluminum prices.

Currencies and commodities: The dollar rose against the euro, the British pound and the Japanese yen.

Oil for February delivery added 38 cents to $102.19 a barrel.

Gold futures for February delivery gained $3.60 to $1,623.70 an ounce.

Bonds: The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury fell, pushing the yield up to 2%.  To top of page

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,804.80 26.65 0.15%
Nasdaq 4,765.38 16.98 0.36%
S&P 500 2,070.65 9.42 0.46%
Treasuries 2.18 -0.03 -1.27%
Data as of 7:26am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 17.62 0.09 0.51%
Apple Inc 111.78 -0.87 -0.77%
General Electric Co 25.62 0.48 1.91%
Intel Corp 36.37 -0.65 -1.76%
Microsoft Corp 47.66 0.14 0.29%
Data as of Dec 19
Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed4.01%4.03%
15 yr fixed3.12%2.97%
5/1 ARM3.11%2.99%
30 yr refi4.04%4.09%
15 yr refi3.15%3.05%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
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